Spring has sprung, and many of us are eager to get outdoors and enjoy warm weather, blue skies and early blooms. However, allergy sufferers know it's also peak pollen season, that dreaded time of the year of sinus congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, coughing, and itchy and watery eyes.
If that sounds like you, here are five tips to help you breathe more freely this spring:
1. Track your local pollen level counts
Pollen levels can vary throughout the spring, day-by-day, and even by the time of a day. Tracking levels can help you minimize pollen exposure that cause your symptoms to flare up most. Counts indicate the amount pollen grains in a cubic meter of air and are often even broken down by the type or species of plants. When pollen level counts are high generally, or high for a plant to which you're sensitive, the greater the chance you'll react.
Visit Pollen.com and enter your zip code for your local pollen level counts and forecasts (your Local TV News station or a trusted allergist office website may also provide pollen level counts more specific to your region). When it's high, try to stay indoors to limit your exposure. Keep in mind: pollen levels usually rise in the morning, peak around midday, and gradually fall during the evening; try to plan optional outdoor activities accordingly.
2. Keep your home (and car) windows closed
Staying indoors only helps if you're also keeping the pollen out. After months of having the heat on blast and home sealed tight, you may be tempted to open your windows and doors for some sweet and fresh spring air. Resist this temptation! Especially when the pollen counts are high. Pollen drifting in may bring on symptoms that can persist even when counts go down since once pollen is inside your home, it can linger in carpet and fabrics, on furniture and surfaces, triggering symptoms until a very deep and thorough clean to remove it.
3. Immediately change clothes upon coming indoors
An often overlooked step, avoid bringing pollen into your home via your clothes and body. When you get home from spending time outdoors--especially for yard chores, and especially when counts are high--remove your shoes and beeline for the bathroom to change clothing (try to change outdoors or in the garage if possible!). Pollen clings to fabric, to our hair and skin, and can easily transfer to everything indoors. Thus, you may also want to shower to rinse away any clinging pollen (a hair-full of pollen is the last thing you want on your pillow!). Taking this step may take a few minutes and precious energy from a busy day, but is a truly easy and effective step to keep your home a pollen-free sanctuary, and to enjoy a sniffle free night.
4. Deep clean winter dust and change air filters
When your home is closed off during the winter months, dust and pet dander settles, and mold and mildew can build up, all triggering symptoms just the same as pollen and even compounding each irritant's severity. Find time for a thorough and deep clean this spring.
And don't overlook: clean or change the air filters in your home's HVAC system and your car at the start of spring and during the season if you feel it necessary.
5. Keep handy a Neti Pot, and a bottle of Breathe Free
Even when you're all the precautions in the world, if you're sensitive, you will feel the effects of pollen.
So? Prepare in advance. Using a neti-pot may be a bit intimidating or even gross, but it's a great way to rinse out pollen that's built up in your nasal and sinus passages, triggering symptoms well after you've come indoors and away from pollen (and changed and showered!). Neti Pots are widely available online and at local pharmacies and stores.
But also, keep a bottle Rootology: Breathe Free on hand for fast-acting, non-drowsy, natural nasal and sinus relief for when the pollen really hits. You can take it as needed--most users feel its benefits within 20 minutes. But, many others swear by taking it daily so they don't feel pollen to begin with. However it can help you, Breathe Free with Rootology.
We wish you a happy Spring.