Fitness Facts: Seasonal allergies

By Connie Colbert
GCU Director of Health Services

Spring will soon be upon us! And with the beauty of spring flowers and blooming trees comes seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are also known as “hay fever” or allergic rhinitis.

Now is a good time to look at how to prevent and treat those runny noses, watery, itchy eyes and sneezes before they take over. More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers have year-round symptoms.

Connie Colbert

Other signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies are:

  • Itchy throat and ear canals
  • Ear congestion
  • Post-nasal drainage
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Here are some suggestions on the outdoors:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and other gardening chores that stir up allergens. Either delegate these chores or hire a landscaper.
  • Remove clothes you have worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Wash your hairat the end of the day to wash out pollens. That will help avoid pollen transfer to the pillowcase.
  • Do not hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.
  • Exercise in the morning or late day when pollen counts are lowest.
  • Track high pollen days on your local TV or radio station.

Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there is a lot of pollen in the air. These steps can help you reduce your exposure:

  • If high pollen counts are forecast, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
  • Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
  • Pollen counts are typically higher on hot, sunny, windy days and lower on cooler days without wind.

Helpful hints inside the house:

  • Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
  • Remove stuffed toys from your children’s bedrooms.
  • Wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week.
  • Cover your bedding and pillows with allergen-proof covers.
  • Think of replacing carpets with tile or another hard flooring.
  • If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and change filters regularly.
  • Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
  • Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

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