Summer fun is almost here, and many people are looking forward to barbeques on the patio, picnics in the grass, and exploring the great outdoors in the warm months of Ohio. While many are planning for fun in the sun, allergy sufferers prepare for the many uncomfortable symptoms of summer allergies.
What are the summer and fall allergens?
During the summer and fall months In Ohio, weed pollen, mold, and dust mites cause the most trouble for patients with allergies. While the most bothersome weed pollen is Ragweed, which causes symptoms from the middle of August to early October, there are other weed pollens such as English plantain, Yellow Dock, and Sheep’s Sorrel that cause symptoms from May to September. Mold spores can be in the air whenever the temperature rises above freezing during the night and can cause symptoms from early spring to the onset of freezing weather in the fall. And while House dust mites are perennial allergies, they often cause more symptoms in the summer and fall due to higher humidity levels.
What treatments are available?
If you suffer from summer and fall allergies, there are things you can do to lessen the symptoms and make you more comfortable.
- Avoidance: Plan to start your outdoor activities after 10 am. Pollen counts are highest from 5 am-10 am and also at dusk.
- Encase mattresses, box springs, and pillows in zippered, dust mite-proof covers that completely surround the mattress, box spring, and pillows. The cover label should list protection against dust mite allergens and wash sheets every week in either very hot water or wash them with ALL Free and Clear in warm or cold water.
- The humidity level in the home should be less than 50% if possible. Use air conditioning and a dehumidifier in the basement.
- If you have carpet, vacuum weekly, using a high-efficiency filter bag, and wear a mask if you have a house dust mite allergy.
- Medication: Over-the-counter antihistamine tablets such as Allegra, Claritin, or Zyrtec can provide relief. Antihistamine eye drops such as Alaway and Zaditor and corticosteroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Nasacort can be found at your local drugstore and can also be helpful and are most effective if used routinely. Prescription medications are available for patients who need something stronger or for those with allergic asthma.
Allergen immunotherapy: This type of treatment can be beneficial to reduce symptoms, decrease the need for medication, and in a significant percentage, can be curative!