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Spring & Summertime Allergens; Let's Be Prepared! Part 1

March 13, 2017

Did you hear about the one about the convict who had an allergy? He broke out!! :D

~whatallergy.com

 

In a couple of months we will officially head into spring and then summer seasons, and that means summertime heat, humidity and allergen offenders...dum- de -dum- dum! 

Warmer seasons grace us with it's beauty of fresh blooms, lush green lawns and  majestic trees happily waving in the summer breeze.  However, there's trouble lurking behind these spring and summer scenes in the form of Pollen, Mold, Bug Stings, Seasonal fruits, and Poison Ivy, Dust Mites, Pet Dander and Humidity from heat and rain. Each one of these can be the cause of a difficult warm season if not handled properly.

 

 

Traveling Allergens:

Ragweed Pollen, though pollen exist throughout the year, it does have a pattern.  Tree pollen is highest in the spring before the leaves bloom and in the late spring it's grass pollen followed by weed pollen [the Godzilla of pollens!] in July and August.  It use to be that people with pollen allergies and asthma could relocate to drier parts of the nation for their health management, however, there's been a national, even global expansion of pollens due to a variety of factors, such as, rises in global temperature and CO2 levels which cause plant pollination cycles to become longer and more aggressive. This was evidenced by the record temperatures which directly connected to record allergy suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, the increasing temps which lengthened the pollen season also began to change the landscape of botanics, which increased the distribution of allergic plants amongst a larger geographic area.  Now places uncommon to ragweed now experience have large counts and this stretches to places as far away as the Ukrine! :O

 

 

 

Third, our warmer climate has had an effect on the distribution of insects, and especially allergic ones like wasps, fire ants, and cockroach. Eww!

 

 

Fourth, people when they moved form state to state would import their favorite plants and flowers along with, creating gardens and starting new generations of pollen filled plant life!  So, now that we know the why let's talk about what we can do about it. :{}

 

 

 

             [ Kodi always makes sure she exercises during the low pollen hours in her day! ]

 

Pollen Levels: Workouts

To begin with pollen is impossible to completely avoid if we are to live in this world :{}  However, there are steps to take especially for those who like to exercise outdoors and who suffer with allergies, and asthma. Indoors is best for those with allergies especially asthma when the pollen count is HIGH and it is when it's warm and windy and the days are dry, but [ I understand the pull into nature! :) ].  Pollen levels are highest during mid day and afternoon so keep that in mind if you insist on outdoor workouts.  

 

 

 [ Included in this Asthma Safety Readiness bundle are; my Inhaler & Spacer, a little Portable Nebulizer-I found on Amazon, Water Bottle, a Mask [I didn't have anymore paper masks on hand so I just included this one for demo purposes :() ], and a Tea bag.  Though the tea won't be hot, if needed I can always steep it in the water bottle for some extra Theophylline & Caffeine for bronchial dilation assist!.  I would keep these things in a small pac or back pac as they don't add too much weight when exercising outdoors.   I forgot to include a small tissue pac for blowing out what tries to sneak into out noses! ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netti Pots and nasal irrigation are really helpful tools for asthma and allergy management.  These nasal irrigation systems help to flush out those sticky allergens which get trapped in our nasal passages.   I've been slow to jump on the bandwagon I'll admit :o  the thought of something going into my nose made me cringe!  However, as of late, it's become imperative for my asthma management!  I use a nasal mist, these two pictured above.

( I'm working on moving up to the hard stuff LOL! )

 

For those with asthma, remember to take with you your Asthma Readiness Packs, which should include your  phone, inhalers and any other asthma meds taken on the regular, a mask in case you run into some nastiness like a sudden windy usurp of flying pollen Yikes!!  Local hardware stores sell inexpensive painters masks that are effective for this purpose.

 

 

Keeping water handy is preferable for asthmatics and any allergy/sinus suffers to keep that mucus thinned out and to stay hydrated. Dehydration can bring on an asthma attack, because (Histamine) production increases, which triggers bronchial spasms.   Increased histamine causes the mucus in our airways  to become thicker and clog up in in the bronchials in an attempt to prevent them from completely drying out. 

 

           [ Perhaps Dorothy and the gang should've checked their weather apps for pollen counts before heading out! ] :<>

 

Outdoor Environment: Working Out with Pets

Mind your environment while working out outdoors with asthma/allergies.  If you know you have grass allergies don't go running through the fields like Dorothy, the Tin Man and the gang, or you just might meet the same fate they did LOL [passing out in the grassy field :() ] Find trails or a paved area to workout instead.  Pay attention to the air quality before you head outdoors, learn to check for the pollen count, there are many apps and weather apps that do this.  

 

 

If you are jogging or walking with a pet they are walking sticky notes for pollen, and sometimes people may believe that it's their pet that's causing their allergies but it just might be the pollens that are sticking to them.  Try brushing your pet often after being outdoors [while outdoors].  Also having an area in the house that's a No pet Zone like your bedroom can be helpful.   Avoid early morning runs and outings with Fido on high pollen and windy days. Use good judgement; if it's smoggy, or humid, you know this will cause trouble, and if the weather takes a turn for the worse unexpectedly, head for the hills [ INDOORS! ]. :()

 

 [ Alex makes sure she always has a pair of large ( and fabulous! ) Sun Glasses and a large hat, big enough to cover or stuff all of her hair inside for protection against pollen and other warm weather allergens! ]

 

 

Clothing:

Grabbing a large brimmed hat and sun shades [ men too] are another way to protect yourself from maximum exposure to pollen. These clothing items keep some of the dreaded pollen and other allergens off of your face and eyes.

 

 Remember to remove your shoes when indoors, as pollen, grasses etc... can be tracked in through the grooves in your shoes.  Try not to bring your outdoor jackets and other outerwear into the main living areas for the same reasons as your shoes.

 

 [ A sure fire way to track allergens into the home is bringing in equipment that's been lying around in the summer grass! ]

 

 The same goes with sporting and game equipment, try and rinse them off if bringing into the house, especially if they've been lying around in the grass.  If you garden, make sure you wash those gardening gloves and tools to remove excess allergens.  These steps might seem like extra trouble but you will find that the benefit of performing these tasks will out weigh any inconvenience as you will experience healthier environment for asthma/allergy control.  

 

 [ Lizzy understands the importance of keeping her windows closed for her own protection during summer months!  She doesn't stress about it, she keeps her air conditioner on which has a built in Dehumidifier to control her air quality and she stays Hydrated to help with her sinus issues. ]

 

Windows:

Mind your windows folks!!! I can't stress the importance of this enough!  I know it's a drag to have the windows shut closed during those warm sunny spring and summer months, [ but, especially when those pollen counts are high, you should, even if you only keep them closed DURING those high counts and opened occasionally it's better than open consistently throughout the spring and summer months. ] and your Lungs will thank you for it! [ this includes in the car too..Whaaat?!!!! :O

 

 

Sleeping with the windows open listening to the crickets play an orchestra to lull you off to sleep may be tempting but again, it's important to resist! :O  It's best to have the air conditioner on and the windows shut, because it creates an environment with very little pollen in the house.  An air conditioner with a HEPA filter attachment helps to trap those mold spores. Keeping the humidity lowered below 45 percent because as it rises above 50 percent it's easier for fungi to grow and thrive.  

 

 

[ Although Willow likes to wear her hair up, in the warmer months she washes her hair daily to rid her hair of the pollens and other allergy & asthma enemies that like to stick to her hair, and get transferred onto her pillows and bedding. ] 

 

Body Care:

If you've been outdoors and you're coming in it's important to change your clothes and even take a shower because pollens and other allergens stick to our skin and especially our hair.  Washing the body including hair helps to remove those pollens so they won't get transferred onto furniture and bedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Care:

Flooring is important when living with asthma/allergies too.  Hardwood or tiled floors are ideal as they collect less allergens.  If you desire other flooring separate rugs that can be pulled up and easily removed and cleaned are a good choice, as wall to wall carpets are a huge source of allergens that cannot really be removed through vacuuming. 

 

 Dusting and damp mopping floors and furniture, even walls as dust gathers everywhere, is a lifesaver for removing unwanted dust and allergen particles, and vacuuming  and frequent cleaning rugs or carpets, and even drapes and window blinds where dust loves to hide, will help rid your home of allergens. [mask it up if you have active asthma!].

 

[ Allergy Proof casings can be found to fit any budget these days.  Target has a selection that should suit allergy needs for any bed size. ]

 

Allergy proof bedding encasings for pillows mattresses, and box springs help to protect against those pesky mites that like to feed on our skin cells.  Allergy proof casings work in they make it impossible for the mites to burrow down into the mattress.  Wash bedding weekly, if possible [I know we're all busy :) ] but washing in Hot water 130 degrees or higher kills those mites.  

 

 

Air Purifiers are an investment [ I'm still looking into them myself, and I'll keep you abreast of my findings.]  Purifiers work to remove most of the allergens from the air in your home.  there are purifiers especially for asthma and allergy suffers that have micro filters.  Air cleaners work only for the room in which they are placed. I will be posting a more detailed blog post on air filters and the breakdown of costs and where to purchase in in near future.

 

 

Dehumidifiers are your friend as they keep the hot, muggy humidity under control!   It's helpful to put one in your basement ( if there is one) because moisture that comes from the home's foundation is a major contributor of humidity in the home.  Keeping the humidity lower that 50% will aid in controlling the dust mites and make it easier for asthmatic lungs to function! If you don't have a whole house air conditioner, one that fits into a room is also useful along with a dehumidifier, even better because they work together to filter your air.

 

                                [ Lemon's had it, she's not here for all of this! ]

 

It's best for clothes dryers to vent them outdoors, because the water that was in your wet clothing will be in your home if not vented to blow outside.

 

For stoves, its optimal to vent the exhaust so it goes outdoors as well.  However, not all homes have this option, including mine [ and I often pay for it  through my breathing when Iv'e made something and it becomes smokey.  For now I make sure I keep a fan on and the windows open! ].

 

 [ Yep, this has been me LOL!  But if she had began to take steps to better manage her allergies, she'd be much more comfortable and perhaps her computer & coffee in working order too!]

 

If it seems like there are a LOT of measures to be taken for Allergy and Asthma care and suffering, you're right there are, :[] but what other choice is there?  Even if only a few of these tips are doable for you and your family you will reap the benefits with cleaner air and better breath control [for asthmatics].  These tips are helpful all year round, but particularly in those warmer months when we tend to be outside more often.  In part two I'll be covering surviving mold, bug stings, poison ivy, and even seasonal fruits for asthma and allergy survival in the warm weather.  Lions and tigers and bears oh my! :[]

 

 

 

 

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