Tips for Dealing with Summertime Allergies

\"shutterstock_80404600\"For many people along Colorado’s Front Range, seasonal allergies can trigger runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing and other symptoms that spoil the fun outdoor activities we enjoy in the summer.

If you or your child suffers from intense, chronic allergy symptoms, you may wish to consult with your primary care doctor. Allergy shots are often effective for those with those with severe allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever), and testing can determine if they may work for you.

What Can Trigger Summer Allergies?

The top triggers for summertime allergies are pollen and mold, although stinging insects and plants in the poison ivy family are also sources of allergic reactions in the summer.

Pollens vary by region, but their emergence follows a close pattern nationwide. Tree pollens typically fill the air in spring, followed by grass pollen in late spring and weed pollen in the summer. In Colorado and elsewhere across the country, ragweed pollen is one of the primary culprits behind summer hay fever.

When pollen enters the eyes and nasal passages, your body’s immune system reacts by producing antibodies, which move to cells that release the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Higher pollen counts typically mean worse symptoms.

Mold tends to trigger allergic reactions in late summer and early fall, when certain types of mold spores peak. Mold may also develop indoors, and it can lead to attacks in those who suffer from asthma.

Coping with Summer Allergies

Awareness is one of the best tools for fighting summertime allergies. The National Allergy Bureau, a service of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, offers up-to-date pollen and mold counts for states and localities nationwide.

Steps you can take to limit the effects of summer allergies include:

  • Wear sunglasses and a hat while outdoors to help prevent pollens from settling on your hair and face
  • If you’ve been outdoors without a hat or sunglasses, wash your hair and face before going to sleep to remove pollen that can transfer to your bedding
  • Don’t line dry clothing on high-pollen days
  • Limit outdoor activities on days when pollen and mold counts are high
  • Close windows on high-pollen days and at night when tree pollens are present (tree pollens tend to emerge in the early morning hours)
  • Use cool compresses to help reduce eye itchiness and puffiness

Many allergy symptoms can be controlled by following these tips and using over-the-counter products such as antihistamines, decongestants, and eye drops. Those with recurring, severe hay fever symptoms may want to consider allergy immunotherapy such as allergy shots, which have proven effective in relieving summer allergy symptoms and saving long-term prescription medication costs, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

If you live in the Littleton, Colorado, area and you or your child is suffering from seasonal allergies, or if you’re seeking a knowledgeable and friendly primary care physician, please contact Dr. Andy Fine online or call 303-703-8583 today.

 

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