For many of us, fall means it’s time to dig into yard work to clear out fallen leaves and get everything ready for fresh landscaping in the spring. But if you have seasonal allergies, working in your yard may mean an increase in symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose.
Allergies occur when your body’s immune system overreacts to something in your environment. The immune system acts as a defense system to keep harmful bacteria and virus particles from making you sick.
When the immune system reacts to something that is not harmful, like pollen, the result is an allergic reaction.
Common symptoms of nasal or skin allergies include:
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Hives or rashes
Try these suggestions from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) to reduce your allergy symptoms this fall.
Choose the right time
If you like to work outside in the morning, you’re probably in good shape. Pollen counts tend to be lower in the morning and at their peak around mid-day and into the afternoon. So try to get out in the yard to clean up in the morning or evening to reduce allergy symptoms.
Watch the weather
Rain showers can temporarily help clear the air and reduce pollens. But thunderstorms or windy days can lift more pollen into the air. And standing water after a storm can lead to increased mold that may trigger allergy symptoms.
Put on protection
It may not be your favorite look, but wearing protective clothing such as gardening gloves and a mask can help keep your symptoms to a minimum. Pollen or dust masks available at your local hardware store can help keep your lungs free of pollen while sunglasses can help keep pollen from making your eyes itchy.
Wear a hat to keep airborne pollen from collecting on your hair and being carried into the house. Long sleeves, long pants and gloves can protect your skin from irritants including insect stings.
Pick your plants
You can’t control what your neighbors put in their yards.