Tips to beat to beat seasonal allergies

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Spring’s beautiful weather is more than welcome, but not the allergies that plague so many. According to, Dr. Bela B. Faltay, MD, Chief of Service, Allergy, Akron General Health System, unfortunately this spring it is not just pollen that has us sneezing.

“We are already seeing more intense mold-related allergy symptoms this spring, especially itchy, watery eyes, Dr. Faltay says. “This is likely due to the volume of snow that has made the ground very moist.”

“The late onset of warm weather causes the different species of trees to pollinate at the same time rather than in a gradual sequence,” explains Dr. Faltay. “Much like last year, it will also increase the overlap between the tree and grass seasons. For patients allergic to both tree and grass, this can be much more intense.”

“Typically grass allergy season occurs later in the spring and into early summer,” says Dr. Faltay. “But if the weather remains cool and wet, it may extend the grass season.”

Easy tips for allergy sufferers:

Be prepared. Start over-the-counter and prescription preventative allergy medicines early to reduce or even prevent allergy symptoms.

Break out your shades. Wear sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting in your eyes.

Turn on the air. Close your windows and turn on the air conditioner (or heater, depending on weather conditions) at home and in the car.

Know the pollen count. Limit time outdoors on high pollen days.

Scrub up. Wash your hair after spending time outdoors.

Get electric. Use your clothes dryer – don’t hang clothes outdoors to dry.

Dr. Faltay recommends that you visit your physician if over-the-counter allergy medicine is not relieving your symptoms, or if you have to take them on a prolonged basis for relief.

 Here are a few additional tips from a previous article in DolceDolce. These are from Robin Wilson, Ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:

Use non-VOC paints:  Summer is a great time to paint a room.  Use non-VOC, or volatile organic compound, paints in your home which won’t give off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor, and stir up asthma or allergies. You can’t even tell the difference in how it looks on the wall.

Get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting: Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each summer, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam-clean the entire floor.

Check for mold in dishwashers, under the fridge in the water pan, and in sink and bath drains. Change water dispenser and icemaker filters.

Wash or freeze stuffed your child’s stuffed animals and toys to kill dust mites.

Consider using slipcovers on your upholstered sofas which can be washed regularly and have come a long way from slipcovers of 10 years ago. Make sure to limit the use of drapes as they are “dust catchers.”

Keep the outside world from coming in. Always leave shoes, sandals, and other footwear in the garage or on the porch.  Make sure all windows are properly sealed and outdoor air isn’t seeping in, which will also keep energy costs down. Brush your hair in the garage too.

Keep pets clean and off of beds Cat and dog allergies are very common, so keep pets bathed regularly to reduce dander. Never allow pets on the bed and always wash your hands after handling an animal.  Keep stack of old towels near the door with a spray bottle of water to wipe down pets. Use towels once and wash.

After spending time outside, brush your hair and change your clothes to keep allergens out of the house. If your eyes are tearing or feel irritated, wash your lashes gently with a clean washcloth and cool water to remove any clinging pollen. Don’t forget to wash pets’ eyes if they are suffering.

During peak allergy season, change pillowcases daily, especially if you do not wash your hair every evening. Pollen collects in your hair and transfers to your pillow.