It's autumn and as the temperature drops and the leaves change colour and fall, a new batch of pollen is being released into the air. For many this will result in a flare up of allergies.
Throughout the summer it was pollination from grass that was triggering allergic reactions. At this time of year it is time for weeds to pollinate, and a large number of them are causing seasonal eye-nose-throat irritations.
In recent years our warmer winters have allowed the spread of ragweed, a weed native to North America. One ragweed plant produces more than one billion grains of pollen. Blown by the wind each of these grains can travel up to 400 miles. They also grow abundantly wherever they can lay down roots. All this makes the ragweed a potent cause of seasonal allergies.
Although there is nothing you can do to stop the onset of autumn allergies, you can minimise the impact they have on your life.
To help keep your allergies under control, you can:
- check weather reports for the pollen count and stay indoors when it's high, if possible
- shower and change your clothes after being outside
- if you have a lawn, try asking someone else to cut the grass for you
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you've been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
You should avoid:
- cutting or walking on grass
- spending too much time outside
- keeping fresh flowers in the house
- smoking or being around smoke - it makes your symptoms worse
- drying clothes outside - they can catch pollen
- letting pets in to the house if possible - they can carry pollen indoors