FORT LEE, Va. (June 4, 2015) -- Although the season for many tree pollens is winding down, grass and weed pollens are still going strong and will continue through August and September.
Locally, pollen counts were moderate to high for more than half of the past month, and recent rains that promote plant growth is not great news for allergy sufferers.
To help minimize allergy symptoms for the whole family, try these tips:
• During allergy season, dust more than usual. Wear a face mask to avoid triggering allergies. Use a microfiber cleaning cloth that absorbs and picks up dust and other allergens, instead of just moving them around.
• Avoid transferring dust from surface to surface. Clean rooms from up high to down low. This ensures it does not float from room to room.
• Another way to prevent dust build-up is to get a new vacuum filter. Several high end vacuum bags and filters keep 99 percent of small dust particles, pollen and other allergy-triggering particles from reentering the air. Vacuum at least once a week during allergy season.
• Clean carpets weekly with a HEPA-filter vacuum and keep out of the room for at least half an hour afterward because it can kick up dust that will exacerbate symptoms.
• Do a thorough spring cleaning – windows, bookshelves and air conditioning vents collect dust and mold throughout the winter that can provoke allergy symptoms.
• Limit outdoor school and extracurricular activities (e.g., recess, Little League) in the morning when pollen counts are the highest.
• Avoid playing outdoors on recently mowed lawns (e.g., baseball fields).
• Beware of high mold spore counts after a heavy rain or in the evening.
• Keep windows closed, and if possible, use air conditioning during the warm weather to keep airborne allergens out of the home.
• Always bathe and shampoo at night to remove pollen.
• Pets may need a bath to avoid bringing pollen in the house.
• Keep the windows closed at nighttime in the bedrooms.
• Pick up protective covers for each mattress and pillow. Try to wash bedding once a week in hot water. Those two things alone can lower exposure to dust mites by as much as 80 percent. Dust mites also love stuffed animals, so if any child sleeps with one – and it can’t be washed – pop it in a garbage bag and tie it tight for 24 hours to suffocate the dust mites.
• Keep the dog or cat out of the bedrooms.
• If mold is an issue, keep bathrooms as clean and well ventilated as possible, and zap any mildew with bleach.
• Wipe down counters after prepping food, stash pantry items in plastic containers, and try to de-crumb the kitchen floor as much as possible to keep allergy-inducing mice and bugs at bay.
• Don’t allow smoking in the house. Tobacco smoke can be hard on children with nasal allergies.
• Talk to a physician about treatment medications.