Sniffle less, enjoy more
Seasonal allergies plan
Having a plan to avoid your triggers and can help you feel well and live an active life. Pollen, dust, and mold are some of the hardest triggers to avoid because they’re everywhere and tend to keep each other company.
Start early, end late
Start taking your allergy medication before your symptoms start. If you get allergies in the spring, when pollen counts are high, start taking your medication a month early and keep taking the medication until allergy season ends, usually in July.
Keep the outdoors outside
During the spring, summer, and fall, pollen counts can be high, and mold can develop in humid, hot, or windy weather. If your triggers are pollen or mold:
- Reschedule or limit outdoor activities, especially on windy days. If you have to go outside or do yard work, wear a mask.
- Wash off after being outdoors — especially your face and hands. You may also want to wash your hair, change your clothes, and rinse your nostrils with saline nose spray.
- Hang clothes indoors to dry instead of outside. You’ll avoid pollen and conserve energy, too.
- Keep the doors and windows to your car and home closed. To stay cool use air conditioning (a less environmentally friendly option) rather than attic fans or swamp coolers, that pull in outdoor air.
If you have seasonal allergies, you may be able to find the pollen count in your area on the National Allergy Bureau website or in your local newspaper.
Wash your allergies away
Despite your best efforts, pollen and mold can follow you and your pets inside, and dust, mold, and pet hair may already be there. Simple cleaning and decorating choices can help you reduce your exposure to allergens:
- Choose home furnishings that don’t collect allergens. Remove carpets, curtains, and other dust, dust mite, pollen, mold, and pet hair collectors. Consider wrapping your mattress and pillow in special cases that keep out dust and dust mites. Avoid wool or down blankets and feather pillows. If down is necessary, use high-quality covers, which are available at most bedding stores.
- Keep your home, especially your bedroom, clean. Each week, vacuum carpets and upholstered surfaces and wash your bedding in hot water. Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces often with a commercial cleanser that has bleach to reduce mold growth.
- Avoid cleaning products with irritating ingredients, like deodorizers and perfumes.
- Keep your house well ventilated and dry. Consider using a dehumidifier during humid weather.
- Bathe your pets every 2 weeks. It can also help to keep them outside, or at least out of your bedroom.
Reduce your risks
Reviewed by: William Crawford, MD, December 2015
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers
© 2015 Kaiser Permanente
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