Seasonal allergies are the result of our immune system over reacting in an attempt to fight off the foreign pollen, mold, and dust particles that have entered our bodies. It’s never fun suffering through allergy season or watching someone we love struggle with the itchy eyes, running nose, and congestion that can flair up this time of year.
For the lucky Canadians who experience these unbearable symptoms using an over the counter or prescription medication can help, and is sometimes necessary. However, since these dreaded allergy symptoms only happen after something our body has a reaction to entered through our eyes, nose, or mouth, prevention plays a key role in keeping your allergies at bay.
If steps are taken to reduce the chance of allergen particles coming into contact with our bodies the corresponding allergic response should be reduced as well.
Pollen, which is one of the causes of seasonal allergies, is produced by plants in the springtime and becomes airborne by the wind. It does this to pollenate other compatible plants. Since wind is very hard to control the majority of pollen never reaches the intended destination, and ends up being blown all around us.
Tips to prevent seasonal allergies:
- Wash your hands and face after coming in from outside. This will limit your contact with allergens and the chance of introducing it to your system by rubbing your eyes or cross contact with food.
- Change your clothing after coming in from outside. Pollen and mold spores can cling to clothes and prolong your exposure.
- Do not hang clothes or bedding outside to dry – opt for the dryer instead. Allergens can cling to the fabrics while drying leading to increased contact.
- Wear sunglasses / goggles when cutting grass or doing yard work; this can help to prevent allergens from entering our bodies.
- Keep shoes stored outside of living spaces, ideally in a mudroom. If this is not possible store in closet to reduce the number of pollen and mold particles getting tracked into the home.
- Use a vacuum with a sealed HEPA system, like select Miele units. This ensures the air passes through the bag, premotor filter, and exhaust filter before being expelled from the vacuum. Other vacuums can leak air before it’s filtered and cause allergens to become airborne.
- Vacuum under furniture regularly, especially in the bedroom. Allergy laden dirt and dust tends to build up under beds, dressers, and couches.
- Vacuum mattress regularly to remove dead skin cells that can be a food source for dust-mites.
- Leave windows closed when the pollen count is high. Allergens, like pollen, can enter our home with the breeze.
- Depending on the severity of allergies investing in an air purifier can greatly reduce allergy symptoms. IQAir and Austin Air units work by circulating air through a series of filters and capturing the particles. This prevents you from breathing the particles in reducing the chance of allergy symptoms.
Did you know: The Weather Network has a pollen forecast and allergy outlook for all cities in Canada. If you know the cause of your seasonal allergies you can use these guides to help limit your time out doors when triggers are at their highest.