By Tech. Sgt. Kammy Fitzgerald, NCOIC, Allergy/Immunization Clinic, 6th Medical Group
/ Published May 26, 2017
A service member battles allergies at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., May 26, 2017. In Florida, allergies occur year-round due to the warmer temperatures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Liddon)
Many people assume that spring and summertime are the only times for allergies. While this may be true in the Northern states, in Florida, allergies occur year-round due to the warmer temperatures.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, approximately 36 million Americans suffer from allergies. Symptoms may include, but not limited to, itching, burning or watery eyes, runny noses, congestion, sneezing, coughing and wheezing.
The changing seasons are especially difficult for asthmatic people. Asthma attacks can be triggered by allergens such as molds, weeds, trees, and grasses.
Here are some helpful tips to ease those annoying allergy symptoms:
• Wear a protective mask such as a particulate respirator if you have to mow the lawn or rake leaves outside. If it is possible, switch out chores with someone else so you don’t have to be around those allergy triggers.
• Keep your yard free of fallen leaves and compost. Piles of leaves, compost, and mulch are examples of outdoor mold and can cause allergy issues. People tend to think more of indoor mold, but we may actually have more exposure while outdoors. As a prevention method, keep all trees and brush near your house trimmed.
• Keep your time outdoors in the afternoon from minimal to none if you find mold spores trigger allergic symptoms. Avoid spending a lot of time outside if it’s dry and windy. Additionally, minimize time outdoors until mid-morning has passed, because this is when the pollen count is very high.
• Take a shower after spending time outdoors, because pollen can cling to your clothes and skin.
• Keep your windows closed to help prevent allergens from entering your home.
• Keep car windows closed as well. A helpful hint is to let the air conditioning run for a minute or two with the windows open after first turning it on. This will eliminate mold buildup in the air-conditioning system.
While these are only a few simple suggestions, they may help ease your allergy symptoms when seasons change. If your symptoms persist, follow up with your primary care physician or allergist for further treatment.