7 Tips for Living with a Pollen Allergy

Spring is the time of year when most pollen allergies kick in. In the UK, it means lots of tree pollens floating about – ash, birch and elm – whilst in America it is ragweed pollen that triggers many allergies in spring (although tree and grass pollen is also prevalent at this time of year). Whilst many of us start to look forward to warmer, sunny days of spring, for others all this means is that the familiar itching and sneezing is about to begin.

So what can you do to reduce the effects of a pollen allergy? The factor that is the greatest – the weather – is completely uncontrollable so other than hoping for a cold, wet spring and summer, there isn’t much to be done about that.

1) Sleep with the windows closed. Hayfever can make it very difficult to sleep and whilst it may be warm with the windows shut, having a closed room means that the pollen cannot be blown in whilst you sleep.

2) Install air conditioning. If you are in the UK this may seem an extreme step but it is very helpful in cleaning and cooling the air – which you will really appreciate if you are sleeping with the windows shut. If you already have air conditioning, ensure it is regularly serviced to ensure there is no build up of dust particles that could cause further irritation.

3) Get your other half to do the mowing whilst you hide away inside. If you are sensitive to grass pollen, mowing the lawn spells misery but it is important to keep the grass short. Getting someone else to do it is the only option.

4) Wash your clothes after a high pollen day. Pollen sticks to clothes so if you have been out and about and you know the pollen count is high, pop your clothing (and your family’s) straight into the washing machine when you get back. Also, make sure to dry them inside rather than hanging on the line.

5) React to the weather. You may not be able to control the weather but you can check the pollen counts and plan your day accordingly. Pollen tends to be at its highest in the morning and when on warm, windy days. By minimising the time you are outside in these conditions, you can avoid the worst of the symptoms.

6) Wind up the windows in the car. Just as when you are sleeping, you should contain and control your environment when possible. Create a pollen-proof car by using air conditioning instead of opening the windows or have the air on a recycle setting so it does not draw fresh air from outside the car.

7) Aim for an allergy-friendly garden. It depends which pollen you are sensitive to as to which plants you want to choose and avoid, but in general the following are good plants for allergy sufferers: begonias, roses, pansies, cacti, tulips, hypoallergenic strains of sunflower , azalea and apple trees. There are lots more, too, so you can enjoy having a bright and beautiful garden whilst reducing irritants.

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