Every spring, millions of Americans dread the trip to the park, the playground, or participating in any of the myriad outdoor activities that trigger outdoor allergy symptoms.
This season can be especially trying for children who suffer from allergies, as they and their parents struggle to participate in outdoor activities without triggering the sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, or in some cases, asthma symptoms and hives that may occur.
Grass and tree pollen, barbecue smoke, food allergies and even a typical bee sting can cause these reactions. Dr. Ronit Herzog, a pediatric allergy immunologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, offers the following strategies to help parents of allergy sufferers survive the winds of spring and summer:
• Stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are allergic to pollen it is recommended to run the air conditioner as much as possible during the warm-weather months, because it can filter out large, airborne pollen particles. Remember to keep your windows closed and your air conditioner clean.
• Cut back on morning activities. Pollen counts are usually highest in the early to mid-morning hours between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so minimizing early morning activities may help you get a jump start on a symptom-free day. Shower and shampoo after playing or working outside.
• Avoid stinging insects. If you are allergic to bees you should avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, flower prints, or perfumes and lotions with flowery scents. Always wear shoes when walking in the grass, cover your body as much as possible when working outside, and don't forget to carry medication in case of an emergency.
• Take medications. Eye drops, nose spray, and non-sedating antihistamine can relieve symptoms temporarily, and taking it an hour before exposure can decrease symptom severity.