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Pollen, Pets

Coping with Grass Allergy: Our Top 10 Tips

ThinkstockGrass pollen allergy can can make a person feel miserable, with symptoms that include sneezing, congestion and, more often than not, itchy, watery eyes. The allergy is also a key trigger of asthma flare-ups. Grass and other pollen allergies are collectively known as seasonal allergic rhinitis – a medical condition that affects between 30 and 60 million Americans.

Those who are severely allergic to grass may get hives with grass pollen contact, and on occasion, may even suffer life-threatening anaphylaxis if grass proteins get into the blood system due to scraped skin. So what to do about your grass allergy?

The Top 10

  1. Let’s get obvious: don’t mow the lawn, delegate. Ah, you live alone, there’s no one to delegate to. In that case, allergists advise Allergic Living that it’s best to: take an antihistamine before mowing and wear an N95 protective mask.
  2. Keep the lawn short, that way, it’s not pollinating. (Grass pollinates through the air, not by insects like showy flowers. This is why it gets so easily into the nasal passages and eye ducts.)
  3. Check your local forecast and pollen count every day. On high grass pollen count days, head for the mall or take in a movie; not a good time to be outdoors. Damper days are better: the wetness holds the pollen on the ground.
  4. Cool  your home with a combination of closed blinds and drapes and air conditioning. It’s important to keep the windows shut to keep out grass pollen, which pollinates for most of the summer.
  5. Change your clothes when you coming in from a few hours outside. Washing your clothes frequently will reduce your personal pollen load.
  6. Change the clothes frequently of babies and toddlers, so you don’t inhale the pollen they’ve picked up. Also, wipe off the dog’s fur and bathe the animal (more frequently than he’ll care for) during the summer.
  7. The heck with that outdoors smell: do not hang out your just-washed laundry in the pollen-filled summer breeze.
  8. Don’t tough it out, seek medication relief and enjoy your summer. Start by trying a newer, non-sedating antihistamine for daily control during the height of grass pollen season.
  9. If antihistamines alone don’t help enough, visit your allergist and ask about nasal corticosteroid sprays. These can be highly effective. You may also be a candidate for allergy shots (immunotherapy), for relief in the years to come. New sublingual tablets can also provide lasting relief. For eye symptoms, your allergist can prescribe good eye drops.
  10. When your grass-allergic child will be playing on grass, aside from taking medications, he/she should wear cool but long pants when possible to avoid contact.

In better news, high grass-pollinating season ends with the arrival of August.

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