How to Keep Doing Your Yard Work with Fall Allergies?
In most cases, outdoor allergies are associated with the spring and summer seasons. However, many people with seasonal allergies experience the symptom flare-ups during the fall. Research shows that up to 23 million people in the United States only are allergic to ragweed pollen, which is present in the air during the late summer and fall months. Besides, fall allergies are also commonly triggered by airborne mold spores.
Like other seasonal allergies, fall allergies cause the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever. People affected by this condition often experience sneezing, stuffiness, nasal discharge, irritation in the nose and throat, as well as red, itchy or watery eyes.
If you have a fall allergy, you may want to avoid or minimize your exposure to the allergens to get the symptoms under control. Thus, when it comes to yard work, you may want to take some precautions to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Below, there are some tips to help you make the yard work with fall allergies less miserable.
#1: Keep your yard clean throughout the fall.
To reduce the levels of fall allergens in the yard, experts recommend maintaining it neat and clean. Raking the leaves regularly can help to minimize mold and pollen that tend to accumulate on fallen leaves. You may also want to continue mowing your lawn during the fall to keep the grass short and inhibit it from flowering and pollinating.
#2: Avoid doing the yard work in the morning.
If you are sensitive to fall allergens, experts recommend that you avoid working in the yard in the morning and do it in the afternoon or evening instead. This is because the levels of ragweed pollen tend to be higher in the morning, as well as on dry and windy days. In addition, mold levels usually increase after a rainstorm. You can check daily pollen counts and other allergen levels in your area on the Internet. When the air is highly contaminated with allergenic irritants, you are better off skipping the yard work.
#3: Use caution when raking leaves in the yard.
Piles pf fallen leaves typical for the fall season may contain high levels of mold. This happens because the leaves tend to soak up moisture creating the perfect environment for mold spores, as well as other potential dangers like pests, parasites, and bacteria.
Be careful when raking the leaves to prevent the mold spores from becoming airborne and wear a mask to minimize your exposure to the allergen.
#4: Try a filter mask to protect your nose and mouth.
Wearing a simple filter mask, available in most pharmacies, can help to prevent allergens like pollen from affecting your nose and mouth. Specialists recommend using masks rated N95. Filter masks with this label are supposed to be protect from 95 percent of airborne irritants that are 0.3 microns in size or bigger. According to experts, these masks can be effective even against tiny ragweed pollens.
#5: Make sure to use protective clothing when working in the yard.
Wearing special protective clothing is especially important when you are doing the yard work, because it helps to reduce the exposure to allergens. To prevent pollen from affecting your skin and hair, you may want to wear gardening gloves, long sleeves, pants, and a hat. Using sunglasses or other eyewear can help to protect your eyes from pollen and other irritants. Avoid touching your eyes and nose with your hands when working outdoors.
#6: Always change your clothes after doing the yard work.
Pollen and other allergenic particles often stick to the clothes and shoes. Therefore, the first thing you should do after you finish working in the yard is to change your clothing as soon as possible. It would also be a good idea to take a shower after coming back inside to rinse off allergens in your hair.
#7: Control your symptoms using allergy medications.
Many allergy symptoms can be alleviated by allergy medications like antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays or decongestants. There is also an option of immunotherapy, which is considered an effective long-term allergy treatment. You can receive either allergy shots or sublingual tablets, which are most effective when taken 12 weeks before the start of ragweed pollen season.
Consult with your doctor about the best treatment option for you and ask when to start using the medications to make the treatment more efficient. Usually, people with seasonal allergies should start taking meds a least one or two weeks before the allergy season starts.