Pollen and dander and dust, oh my! While May’s flowers have passed, allergies still abound during the summer; the spring allergies that kick up toward the end of winter don’t taper off until early summer. By the time it’s hot and humid, a new wave of plants and trees have begun to flower and the warm dampness of the atmosphere is a breeding ground for mold. Those of us with allergies can’t seem to catch a break.
Here are our tips on staying healthy and sniffle-free throughout the sunshine season.
It helps to know exactly what your allergy triggers are. During the summertime, for instance, most pollen comes from varieties of grass or weeds. In the Orange County area, certain varieties of wormwood, ragweed and sagebrush are in full bloom, and can cause significant allergic reactions. Take note of any specific summer allergies induced by plants and be mindful of when those triggers are in bloom.
Get a Head Count
Keeping an eye on your local pollen count can help you manage any pollen-related allergies. Pollen generally peaks in the early morning hours through about 10am, so if possible, avoid being outdoors during that time. Resources like Pollen.com give allergy forecasts based on region, tracking when pollen levels are highest and sharing information about top allergens. During the worst of times, you might consider wearing sunglasses or a facemask.
Be Picky with Fruit
How do you like them apples?
You do like them?
That might be a problem. Did you know that food derived from birch or ragweed can actually cause an oral allergy?
That means apples, bananas, melons, cucumber and almonds (to name just a few) are potential triggers for those with pollen allergies. If you notice a swelling or burning in your throat and mouth after munching on some raw fruit or tree nuts, it’s likely due to an oral allergy. Popping fruit in the microwave for 10-15 seconds can get rid of the proteins your body mistakes for pollen. However, if you have an oral reaction and it spreads beyond your mouth, see a doctor right away; in rare cases, it can induce anaphylaxis.
Mind the Sunscreen
Poolside tanning and a bowl of fresh fruit—ahhh, quintessential summer. Except we’ve learned that while fruit is healthy, it can induce allergies. We know that sunshine gives you vitamin D but also skin cancer. You should also be aware that while sunscreen can keep you safe from skin cancer, it can also cause allergic reactions. A number of ingredients in sunscreen can cause rashes, although sometimes reactions are due to the interaction between the sunscreen and the sunlight. If you notice redness, itching or fluid-filled blisters after lathering up, you’ll want to speak with an allergist about a patch test.
Summers are for travel! There’s nothing like a relaxing vacation to bring fresh perspective and cultivate gratitude. Even when you’re getting away, though, allergens are everywhere. It’s important to be proactive. Carry your doctor’s contact number with you, check the pollen levels of your destination (and any areas you might pass through to arrive there) and fill your prescription. If traveling by car, close the windows and opt for recirculated air conditioning. Don’t use the vent because it will let pollen in. Be sure to pack any medication, inhalers or epi pens with you, especially if you’re going to be camping and hiking.
Depending on the severity of your allergies, you might have to limit your time outdoors. This is especially the case when it comes to exercise. Regular exercise can help alleviate allergies by improving blood flow, but it may be better to hit the treadmill instead of the trails. If you do love your time outdoors, know that dry, windy days are the worst for allergies. Pollen levels lower after rainfall. Another tip: be sure to pop allergy pills before leaving the house.
Beware of Bugs
Winged things with stingers tend to be more active this time of year. You might be, too. Families spend more time outdoors during the summer and this can put us at odds with freshly hatched wasps, hornets and bees. While outdoors, store your food and beverages in closed containers, and keep your feet covered as best you can. Forgo any floral fragrances and consider hiring an exterminator if you have a lot of insect activity around your home.
Skip the Smog
Summer smog in SoCal has gotten progressively worse. This spells trouble for those with asthma and allergies. When air pollution mingles and reacts with sunlight, the result is smog. This photochemical smog, as it’s called, is particularly bad during our summer months when exposure to sunlight is greatest. The issue is exacerbated in big cities.
So, what can you do?
Take a look at ozone levels in your region. When they’re high, keep your activities gentle and indoors.
Mind the Mold
If your summers are hot and humid, be doubly careful about mold. This means opening windows when you shower and running an exhaust fan when you use the kitchen. Dehumidifiers can also be used to keep humidity levels ideal—between 30-50%. Be sure to address any leaks in the home, especially in warm, dark areas like garages and basements, which are ideal breeding grounds for spores. Clothes left in the wash are another source of mold. Pull them out as soon as they’re done and throw them in the dryer. Steer clear of outdoor line drying if you have pollen allergies.
Keep it Clean
Cleanliness is next to allergy-less-ness. It may not cure you, but it’s the key to alleviating symptoms:
- Wash your hair before sleeping
- Freeze-stuff children’s toys to kill dust mites
- Changes linens regularly and be sure to treat pillows for dust mites
- Clean or replace the filters on vents and dehumidifiers
- Vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter (which collects more airborne particles than other filters)
- Have your carpets professionally serviced
Zerorez offers deep cleaning services that remove bacteria and allergen build up. We do so in an eco-friendly way—without the use of soaps or chemical-ridden detergents, which can further antagonize allergies. For more information, or to schedule a service, call us at 909-206-5374or visit us online at https://www.zerorezie.com/