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The Allergy Sufferer's Dilemma: Stay Inside or Take Drugs
During allergy season, those experiencing sinus congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing, and other seasonal allergy symptoms are presented with a cruel dilemma: stay inside and miss out on activities, or pay exorbitant amounts of money for allergy drugs that often cause unwelcome side affects.
Fortunately, there is another option: simple changes in lifestyle can provide seasonal allergy relief. Some of these require very little effort, others a bit more, but all are worth it.
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Timing Outdoor Activities
During summer, most people don't want to be outside during the blazing heat of midday, and activities such as walking the dog, going for a run, or just enjoying the weather, tend to get moved to morning or evening.
Evenings are better times for seasonal allergy sufferers to be outside. Most trees start to release pollen at first light, and pollen counts peak between 5am and 10am (Nichols). Pollen levels tend to be much lower in the evening, so shifting a morning run to evening will help.
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Minimizing Pollen Exposure Via Cleaning
Few people truly enjoy housework, and most people don't relish the idea of doing more of it, but if cleaning can provide seasonal allergy relief, it will be well worth the effort. To reduce exposure to pollen, steps must be taken to limit its intrusion into the living environment. This means all cloth-based items need to be kept as clean as possible. Bed linens should be washed at least every week, carpets and drapes vacuumed at least as often.
Cars can also be pollen hot-spots. Air filters should be changed in spring, carpets should be vacuumed every few days whether they look like they need it or not.
Pets and human beings can also carry allergens indoors. Long-haired dogs and indoor-outdoor cats should have their fur trimmed in summer (which also helps keep them cool and helps to prevent heat exhaustion). Pollen sticks to cloth, shoes and hair, so leaving shoes by the door, changing clothes when entering the home, and rinsing hair before bed can also help.
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Technology can also help provide seasonal allergy relief by keeping sufferers appraised of pollen counts (which can vary with the weather and time of year). Most local news stations offer pollen counts on the “weather” section of their web pages, or there are sites such as pollen.com that provide counts based on location.
Users of smart phones can also get help. The Apple Store offers a “pollen radar” app that allows users to track pollen counts (Martin, 2010). Similar applications are available for other phones such as Blackberry and the new Droid.
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Martin, R. (2010, 8 February). Iphone App Pollen Radar Gives You the Pollen Forecast. Gizmag. Retrieved 17 June, 2010 from http://www.gizmag.com/iphone-app-pollen-radar-japan/14111/
Nichols, N. (n.d). Don't Let Allergens Interfere with Your Workouts. Sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 17 June, 2010 from http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/health_articles.asp?id=885&page=1