Allergic rhinitis causes symptoms of sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. But
you can control these symptoms with medicine and by avoiding the things that
cause them (allergens). If you are allergic to outdoor allergens,
such as pollen and mold, you don't have to give up an outdoor life. You just
need to know when and how to take precautions.
By taking these
precautions, you may have fewer or less severe symptoms.
How can I avoid exposure to outdoor allergens?
The following steps can help you
avoid pollens. These tips can help you even if you don't know what type of
pollen you are allergic to. If you do know, you can fine-tune them for that
type of pollen.
Stay inside when pollen levels are high.
Watch local weather reports for
pollen counts in your area. In general, the pollen
counts are lowest just after sunrise. They then begin to increase and are
usually highest at midday and throughout the afternoon. They begin to decrease
Keep windows and doors closed, both during the day
and at night. Use air conditioning to help lower the amount of pollen that gets
inside your house. Do not use a fan with an open window, as this can bring more
pollen into your home.
Mow your grass often. If possible, have a
family member or friend do it for you. If this is not possible, use
antihistamines before you mow, and wear a pollen or
dust mask while you mow.
Avoid bringing pollen back into your home
when you go outdoors.
Take a shower and change clothing after
you work or play outside.
Dry your clothes in a vented dryer. Do
not dry them outside on a clothesline.
Take your vacation during the peak of the
pollen season in a place where the plants you are allergic to don't
Mold may cause allergies that get worse
in damp weather. Mold also produces spores that move around in outdoor air
during warmer months. To avoid contact with mold spores:
Avoid going outside on rainy or windy days
when mold spores may be in the air.
Avoid activities that expose
you to molds, such as gardening (especially working with compost), mowing the
lawn, or raking leaves.
Remove excess leaves, grass clippings, and
compost from the areas close to your home.
Keep rain gutters and
drains clear of leaves and other debris, and make sure the water from
downspouts flows away from the house.
Use products available in
auto supply stores to reduce mold that can develop in your car air
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.