With this year’s elevated pollen count, we should be aware of summer allergy triggers, and how to prevent and treat symptoms. You don’t have to suffer and skip summer activities just because you have allergies. Some spring allergies last into the summer, so why not get a head start on keeping symptoms to a minimum?

The strongest allergy triggers of the summer are pollens from grasses, trees, molds and weeds. When the pollen count is high, symptoms are more severe. Pollens can travel for miles, leaving those who are allergic, more susceptible to reacting and feeling miserable. These symptoms include runny and itchy nose, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and dark circles under the eyes.

Additional allergy triggers include: Ragweed, Cockleweed, Pigweed, Russian thistle, Sagebrush, and Tumbleweed (weeds); as well as Bermuda, Blue grasses, Orchard, Red Top, Sweet vernal, and Timothy (grasses).

You should not  have to feel miserable all summer while these allergens are around. Some over the counter treatments include:

  • Antihistamines-block the effects of histamines (reduce sneezing, sniffling, itching)
  • Decongestants-relieve congestion and swelling by removing mucus from nasal passageways
  • Nasal spray decongestants (not for long-term use)-stop the release of histamine and prevents inflammation, but can cause addiction called rhinitis medicamentosa.
  • Eye drops-relieve itchy and watery eyes
  • Nasal washes to remove pollens, allergens, inflammatory chemicals and mucus from the nose

Allergies should not keep you from enjoying your summer to the fullest. Here are some tips on how you can enjoy the outdoors and keep your symptoms under control:

  • Stay indoors when the pollen count is high
  • Use a HEPA air cleaner
  • Keep doors and windows shut
  • Clean air filters, vents, bookcases, and other places in your home where allergens can collect
  • Wash sheets, blankets, towels and rugs in hot water
  • Shower and wash your hair and clothes after being outside
  • Use a HEPA vacuum
  • Wear a mask while mowing the lawn, especially if you have grass allergies
  • Keep the humidity inside your home below 45%, so dust mites do not grow