With the Fourth of July passed, and the summer now in full swing, people are spending more time outside enjoying the warm sun and long days. Allergy sufferers need to take extra care, explains Dr. Elizabeth L. Jacobson, Iris Cantor Women's Health Center: "In the summer it is especially important to plan outdoor activities in a way that minimizes your exposure to outdoor allergens and to ensure that you keep those outdoor pollens and particles from getting into your home and other inside spaces."
Helpful Tips for Allergy Sufferers
Dr. Elizabeth Leef Jacobson, an internist who specializes in allergy and immunology at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Dr. David Resnick, director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, offer the following advice for allergy sufferers during the summer months:
- Stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are allergic to pollen, it is recommended to run the air conditioner as much as possible during the warm-weather months instead of using a fan. Air conditioners can filter out large airborne pollen particles, whereas window fans draw pollen in. You should keep your windows closed and your air conditioner clean.
- Cut back on morning activities. Pollen counts are usually highest in the early to mid-morning hours between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., so minimizing early morning activities may help you get a jump start on a symptom-free day. Shower and shampoo after playing or working outside.
- Avoid stinging insects. If you are allergic to bee stings, avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, flower prints, or perfumes and lotions with flowery scents. Always wear shoes when walking in the grass, cover your body as much as possible when working outside, and don't forget to carry medication in case of an emergency.
- Take medications. Eye drops, nose spray and non-sedating antihistamine can relieve symptoms temporarily, and taking it an hour before exposure can decrease symptom severity.
- Remove contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, remove them if you have red, swollen or itchy eyes. Contact lenses can further irritate eye allergies and make the condition worse.