Preparing for a Very Tough 2014 Allergy Season
Like tissues from a tissue box, the spring allergy season has sprung completely forth, and with it the misery and discomfort of millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. This year may be especially bad for those of us with sensitivities to pollen, mold and other springtime allergens. Why will 2014 be such a bad year for allergens? Experts are weighing in that the abundant cold suffered during the winter months is to blame for this year’s bumper crop of allergens. The delayed flowering of dormant plants and trees, coupled with abundant moisture provided by the bad winter weather, may lead to the perfect storm of allergens that some are calling the “pollen vortex.”
The Experts Weigh In
Dr. Timothy Mainardi of Hudson Allergy Tribeca reported to the New York Daily News that mold, one of the most common allergens across the country, “absolutely loves moisture. The moisture that we generated this year in the form of snow is going to make all of those allergy symptoms worse.” “If it warms up quickly, and gets really warm, that may mean everything starts pollinating all at once,” Professor of Biology at University of Tulsa Estelle Levetin told CNN. This springtime release of pollen is when a tough allergy season really starts. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, seasonal allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness among the 50 million Americans suffering from them, with a cost of more than $18 billion per year.
How to Cope
Allergies may have significant impact on a large part of the country, but there are numerous affordable over-the-counter medications and prescription solutions available that are effective and long lasting. Aside from medicinal relief, there are also natural ways to cope with allergies that do not have to disrupt your life.
Allergens: Stay Out
Keeping allergens out of your home is your first line of defense in making the allergy season more tolerable. Pollen’s most important biological function is being clingy, so you can bet that you’re carrying lots of allergens around with you on your jacket and shoes. Take them off before you come in, and wash them regularly, to close off one avenue for allergens to get into your home. If you can’t keep allergens out of your home, at least make your bed a safe place. We spend hours a day just lying in bed, breathing, asleep, and vulnerable to our allergies. Keep potentially dirty clothes off the bed, and if you’re particularly sensitive, wash your hair before bed to remove anything that you’ve carried with you through the day. And make sure to wash your sheets regularly.
The Smart Outdoors
Suffering from seasonal allergies does not mean you have to stay indoors with the windows closed. It may mean that you need to change the time of day you spend outside exercising, for example. Pollinating plants are most active around dawn and dusk, so changing your routine to avoid those times is a must. Some experts also recommend spending time outdoors near beaches, lakes, pools, or other bodies of water. The air 10-15 feet above the surface of a body of water is often cooler, more humid, and far less populated with pollen, dust, and mold than higher, drier air.
Sure, it might be a bad year for allergies in 2014. As always, it is best to be aware of what is coming, but it is also essential to know these things not only to avoid them, but to prepare for them properly. Allergies may not be entirely avoidable, but they certainly do not have to ruin your life. Knowing how to keep yourself safe is half the battle.
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