Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Part II of our blog on seasonal allergies.
Avoid being outdoors on dry and windy days. The best time for outdoor activity is after a good rain, which helps to clear the pollen from the air.
Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper or the internet (websites and apps) for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
If the forecasts predict high pollen counts, take your allergy medications before your symptoms start.
If you do run outdoors, switch to using the treadmill instead, to reduce your exposure to the outdoors.
Pollen counts are typically higher between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you have to be outdoors, avoid these hours.
Lawn mowing, weeding and other garden chores can stir up allergens. Delegate these tasks, if you can.
If you cannot delegate and absolutely have to do the gardening yourself, then use a pollen mask.
Whilst outdoors, avoid touching your eyes, as this would carry the allergens to your eyes.
If you use contact lens, switch to eyeglasses instead. If you don't use contact lens or eyeglasses, use sunglasses whilst outdoors as this would protect the eyes.
Remove your shoes before entering the house, to avoid carrying pollen into the house. Keep a shoe rack by your entrance and clean it out often.
Use a synthetic doormat, which can be washed weekly.
Remove the clothes that you have worn for the outdoors and wash them as soon as you can.
Have a shower once indoors, washing your hair and body well.
Don't dry your laundry outdoors as pollen can stick to the fibres and get indoor as you bring in your laundry.
Avoid clothing made of synthetic fabrics, as they can produce an electric charge when rubbed that attracts and make pollen stick to you. Better options include natural fibres like cotton. Wear clothing that is washable and wash after each use.
If you have pet that goes outside, wipe his fur off before he comes back inside. Pets carry pollen on their fur. Give your pet a wash more frequently to wash away the pollen that clings to the fur.
Keep doors and windows closed at night or at any other time when pollen counts are high.
Keep the vehicle windows up, when driving, as the wind carries in the pollen too. At home and in the car, use the air conditioning.
In the vehicle, turn the air conditioner vents away from your face to avoid irritation to your nasal passages and worsening your allergies.
Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters at home, with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 8 to 12. A MERV rating indicates how well the filter can remove pollen and mould from the air as it passes. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is, in capturing the measured particles. Change the filters every 3 months.
For areas, such as the bedroom, use a portable HEPA filter.
Use a dehumidifier at home, to keep indoor air dry. Keep humidity levels to below 50 percent to kill dust mites, but above 30 percent to avoid making your home too dry.
Vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
If you have carpet in the house, consider switching to solid surface flooring such as laminate, vinyl or wood, which is easier to clean and therefore can be cleaned more often.
Clean the heating vents professionally every year.
Clean well behind and under the bed, side tables and headboards. Clean the top of ceiling fans. Use a damp cloth as dry cloths push the dust back into the environment.
Make your bed every morning, covering your sheets and pillows with the comforter, or duvet to prevent the allergens from settling onto your pillow during the day. You could also change your pillowcase everyday before bedtime to avoid breathing in allergens that could have settled onto your pillow during the day or transferred from your hair, etc from the previous nights.
Wash all bedding weekly in as high a temperature as possible.
Avoid keeping stuffed animals and cushions in the bedroom.
Avoid pets in the bedroom. Keep your bedroom door closed to avoid pets getting in.
Replace fabric windows curtains with shades and clean often.
Rinse out your nasal passages (nasal irrigation) with a saline solution. This is called neti and is done using a neti pot. It flushes out not only the allergens from your nose but also the mucous. After neti, gently blow out the excess water from the nostrils and then follow up with a little sesame oil into the nostrils to avoid drying out the lining of the nostrils.
Balance your hormones and reduce stress. When we are stressed out, our immune system is compromised, making us more likely to experience allergic responses o the environment.
Keep yourself healthy with a healthy diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle habits.