Summer Allergies: Pro Tips for a Safe and Healthy Season

June is here in full force, which means summer has officially arrived. For most people, that means three months of sun, heat, and probably a lot of fun at the beach. However, there are others who already dread the many allergy triggers that come with the changing of the seasons. If you’re ecstatic about blooming roses but shudder at the thought of rose fever, know that you’re not alone. Summer allergies can be a real bummer, but luckily there are some tips you can follow to make this time better.

Thanks to an extremely rainy spring, summers welcomed us with plenty of blooms to sniff – and plenty of pollen to try to avoid. Fortunately, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology jumped in with some helpful tips on how you can protect yourself again summer allergies.

Be Prepared for Summer Allergies

The humidity and excessive heat of summer can trigger various respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing and asthma. In late summer, allergic people should be mindful of the ragweed season, which can also lead to severe mold allergies. It’s easy for runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes and nasal congestion to become an all-season issue. Therefore, awareness of the potential triggers should help you avoid them as much as possible, particularly when you’re doing outdoor activities.

Keep an Eye on Your Diet

Inevitably, people tend to experience increased food allergies with the many celebrations occurring during the summer season. With Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and weekend BBQs, people have less control over the exact ingredients of what they are eating. Keeping this in mind, you can try to be more aware, protecting your diet from potential triggers for your summer allergies.

Protect Yourself at Home

Do you struggle with spring allergies, too? Experts recommend you follow the same steps during summertime, too. Depending on your allergies, you might have to stay inside when pollen levels are high or during peak humidity. Also, we recommend you run the AC unit and closing your windows for minimum exposure to outdoor triggers. Make sure the air conditioner filters and vents are fresh, keeping you protected. For extra safety, get a smartphone app that lets you check the weather and pollen count before going out. And wash your face, eyes, and eyelids as often as possible.

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Take Care on the Road

Furthermore, if you like hiking, watch out for poison ivy and poison oak. If you’ve been exposed, take a cool bath and remove the resin that causes the rash with water and soap. Always travel with anti-itch sprays and topical steroids to keep your potential symptoms under control. If you know you have food allergies, attend summer BBQs with EpiPens (never leave the EpiPen in a heating car!) At the same time, if you’re concerned about allergies when booking your vacation accommodation, experts advise asking for a smoke-free room that has a pet ban. That way, you can reduce potential irritants and allergens.

And Protect Yourself at Night

Whether we’re aware or not, the bedroom is a crucial source of allergy triggers. The main issue is dust mites, which drive our allergies up all year-round. But you may also deal with animal dander, mold, and pollen that drifted into your room through the open window. Your clothes can also make your allergies act up, as well as allowing pets into the bedroom.

Experts recommend covering your mattress and pillow to cut down on exposure to the dust mite. Also, using allergen-barrier covers is an extra step you can take to avoid potential irritants. Zippered protectors that fully enfold the pillows and mattresses provide the most protection against dust mites, bed bugs, pollen, and other home allergens. Still complaining of itchy eyes after a night’s sleep? Try washing your bedding in hot water on a weekly basis.

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Top Summer Allergens

It’s not just the ubiquitous pollen that triggers sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes during the summer. Experts say the following allergy triggers can also cause people troubles during the hot months.

1. Mold

Allergic reactions in late summer and fall are often caused by outdoor mold. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, this is the time when mold is at peak in many types of spores. However, only few of them trigger allergies and asthma. While certain types are particularly problematic during summer, mold is a year-round annoyance.

2. Stings

Nobody likes to be stung – it’s a painful encounter we go out of our way to avoid. However, the pain is just one of the reason why we should steer clear of stinging insects. They can also represent dangerous summer allergy triggers, sometimes leading to severe reactions (anaphylaxis). Even though they are less common, stings can also be more dangerous. Late summer is the time when bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets are most active. Don’t walk barefoot in forest areas or anywhere there are insects. Also, keep food and drinks covered when outdoors so stinging insects don’t sneak in for a meal.

3. Poison Ivy

It’s very common for people to experience sensitivity to poison ivy and any related plants, However, most people have also figured out how to avoid it. This allergy trigger is mostly a problem for those who have occupational exposure in the woods or those who can’t avoid it. If that’s not your case, we recommend avoiding brushing with poison ivy by staying away from bushes and in open areas.

4. Pollen

Whether spring, summer or fall, pollen is in the air, ready to set off all kinds of allergies. According to experts, this powdery substance is the most common allergen and sends the most people to the emergency room. Because it’s impossible to avoid pollen entirely, there are tips to help you minimize its effects. Exercise indoors when the pollen levels are high – usually on dry, warm, or windy days. The count is also typically at peak in mid-day and afternoon. Accessorizing can help minimize exposure to pollen. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and oversized sunglasses to stop pollen from getting into your eyes and on your face.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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