Friday, June 12, 2009

Spring Allergy Tips

The majority of spring allergies are related to pollen—powdery grains that are carried by wind or insects and are necessary for plant reproduction. Flowering plants and trees, such as the oak, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar, maple and walnut, start pollinating between January and April, depending on their location. When pollen is in the air, it can land in the eyes, nose, lungs, or skin of a sensitive person and cause itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, and other breathing difficulties.

Pollen allergy symptoms are often minimal on rainy, windless days because pollen does not move much during those conditions. Hot, dry, and windy weather brings more pollen into the air and results in more allergy symptoms. In the United States, pollen season typically runs from March until October, but it can begin as early as January in southern states.

If you are sensitive to pollen, here are some tips to help you cope:

Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from blowing into your home and car.
Avoid going outside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are highest.
Don’t dry your clothing on an outside line, as pollen can be transferred to your clothes and into your home that way. Use a clothes dryer instead, or an indoor clothing rack.
If you’ve been outside, change your clothes in the garage before entering your home to prevent pollen transfer. Shower and wash your hair before going to bed so you don’t spend the night covered in allergens.

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