An allergen is something in your environment that can cause allergy symptoms of sneezing, itchy watery red eyes, runny nose and nasal congestion.
Outdoor allergens have certain seasons of the year when they are present. Pollen and mold spores are carried by the wind. Some pollen can travel hundreds of miles. This is why warm, dry, and windy weather often increases allergy symptoms. Since pollen and mold are carried by the wind, it will not help to remove plants or trees in your yard.
Outdoor Allergen Seasons in Wisconsin
• Tree pollen occurs from March through early June.
• Grass pollen occurs from mid May through July.
• Ragweed pollen occurs at the beginning of August and last until the first hard frost stops the pollination. Peak time for ragweed pollen is usually about the time that school begins in the fall.
• Mold spores can appear in the early spring, but peak in warmer, humid months, such as July through October. Mold spores may be present until there is full snow cover.
Steps to Limit Pollen and Mold Exposure
• Keep windows closed and use air conditioning.
• Stay indoors when the pollen or mold counts are reported as high.
• Wear a pollen mask if going outdoors is unavoidable or if performing yard work.
• Avoid mowing lawns or raking leaves---those activities will stir up pollen and molds.
• Avoid hanging laundry outside to dry. Pollen and molds can cling to laundry and be brought indoors.
• Shower and change clothes after you have been outdoors for a long time. Pollen and mold can be easily carried indoors on clothes and hair.
• Think about taking a vacation during high pollen seasons and travel to an area with less pollen.
Treating Outdoor Allergy Symptoms:
Medicines can help allergy symptoms. These medicines can include:
• an antihistamine (helps runny/itchy nose/eyes, sneezing)
• a nose spray (helps nasal stuffiness)
• an eye drop (helps itchy eyes).
It is important to take the allergy medications as prescribed by your health care provider.
Immunotherapy or allergy “shots” may be used for children and adults who continue to have allergy symptoms even while taking allergy medicines.
Information on outdoor allergens is offered through the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) at: www.aaaai.org
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/21/2012
Copyright © 07/06/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7383
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