The urge to spend time outdoors is never greater than in the early days of spring. The days start to get longer, the snow melts away, the sun comes out and gardens bloom. But when some of us pull off our winter boots and stop to smell the roses, we’re hit with the reality of our spring: runny noses, sneezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes.
What causes spring allergies?
For most spring allergy sufferers, pollen is the culprit. But to suffer the effects, you don’t have to stick your nose in a flower and breathe in. No, pollen makes its way through the air we all breathe, making it seem impossible to avoid– unless you barricade yourself inside with the windows closed. That’s because while it is certainly found in most flowers, it doesn’t end there. Pollen is also found in many types of trees, including pine, cedar, maple, ash, elm, willow, poplar and sycamore. It’s even found in grass and weeds, making it even more difficult to avoid.
What can you do?
While it may be tempting to sit inside and avoid the sunshine, it’s not necessary to go to such extremes. There are things you can do to make allergy season more pleasant and enjoy the fresh air.
Pick pollen-free flowers. If you want to have fresh flowers in your home (or garden), choose a variety with little or no pollen. This includes roses, tulips and daffodils, making them the perfect choice for allergy sufferers.
Use air conditioning. Instead of keeping windows open or using a fan, use an air conditioning system to get some relief from the heat, both in your home and in your car.
Avoid the clothesline. It’s not worth what you’ll save on your energy bill; pollen can easily collect on your clothes if you hang them out to dry. Instead, continue using the dryer or an indoor drying rack, just like you do in the colder months.
Check pollen counts. Get your vitamin D when the pollen counts are lowest. Usually pollen levels peak in the mornings, and they are especially high on breezy days.
Keep clean. Pollen tends to collect in hair, making it a good idea to wash it each time you come in from outdoors. You should also change your clothes each time you come inside, and wash your clothing and sheets regularly.
Get some help. If allergies are an ongoing problem, you can get some relief with one of many over the counter medications. Antihistamines work to target allergies specifically, and there are many different brands on the market. Decongestants and nasal sprays can also be helpful for those struggling with allergies, as they work to clear out nasal passages. If itchy eyes are a problem, eye drops will most likely provide some relief. Though all of these medications are available without a prescription, its a good idea to check with a physician before taking anything new. And, if these medications aren’t doing the trick, your doctor might be able to provide more allergy treatment options.