Tips for Limiting your Exposure to Seasonal Allergens

pollen in the air LRHere in New England, the snow has melted away and there are signs of new life all around us. Birds, bugs, and buds on the trees; and flowers blooming everywhere you look. With all of the beauty of spring, however, comes the discomfort and even pain of seasonal allergies.

Many people who suffer with spring allergies are affected by pollen, those tiny grains of plant matter that float through the air to fertilize other plants; allergies can also be caused by mold and grasses. Whatever the source, spring allergies can cause our eyes to become extremely itchy, which can lead to irritation and even abrasions; and ocular allergies can exacerbate existing eye issues. Reducing our allergic reactions helps to maintain good ocular health.

One way to reduce spring allergies is to limit our exposure to them. This includes limiting the time spent outdoors, particularly in the early morning, and on windy days, when the pollen counts are the highest; and taking certain precautions when you do go out. A filter mask can help to keep pollen out of your mouth and nose as you work in the yard; and sunglasses and hats can help prevent pollen and other irritants from entering the eyes.

The next step is to leave all of that pollen outside where it belongs. Shake out sweaters and other outerwear to remove any particles. Be sure to remove your shoes prior to going inside, and have family members and visitors do the same. Line-dried clothing smells wonderful, and saves electricity, but airborne pollen will cling to them. Whenever possible, keep the windows in your home, office, and automobile closed.

Despite these measures, tiny pollen particles will get into your home. A good way to remove them is to use a vacuum cleaner or air filter that has a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, which can trap almost 100% of microscopic airborne particles. Also, frequently washing outerwear and bedding can further help keep your home environment clean and free of allergens.

These important steps can only limit your contact with allergens – unless you never leave the house, some exposure is almost certain. If you suffer from allergies, your doctor may be able to recommend prescription or over the counter medications, including eye drops, that can greatly relieve your symptoms.