12 Ways to Reclaim Spring from Allergies
7. BE BOLD WITH MOLD
If you’re preparing for a fog of summer humidity, you’d be wise to add a dehumidifier to your heating and cooling system, or buy a standalone unit to prevent allergy-triggering mold.
Check a central air conditioner to make sure water isn’t dripping off the coil and making a puddle where spores can grow. In cooler climes, install double or triple-glazed windows to prevent condensation on windows says indoor air quality expert Max Sherman, a fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. His advice: “Dry it, and they will not come.”
If you do find mold, rather than dousing it with lung-irritating bleach, try a cleaner free from harsh chemicals, such as MoldStat, Concrobium Mold Control, Vital Oxide or Safe Shield. For big jobs, call in a mold contractor, and soon.
8. THE QUICKER SHOT
Immunotherapy can bring great relief for those suffering from seasonal pollen allergies. Your doctor will confirm whether you’re a candidate for allergy shots, but there’s a downside – a typical patient spends five years building up immunity, and an estimated 40 to 50 hours of total time in the doctor’s office getting jabbed.
However, if your concern is ragweed allergy, there is a far quicker option available. Spring is when you’d need to check with your doctor about the Pollinex-R vaccine, which requires a series of only four shots, one week apart and repeated for just three years. The shots need to be given ahead of the ragweed onslaught.
And swift desensitization now appears on the horizon for the trifecta of grass, tree and ragweed pollen. In development is Pollinex Quattro, which has versions for ragweed, tree and grass allergy and is again meant to build immunity with just four needles a season over three years. There have been promising research trials for this new vaccine, and the manufacturer recently had a regulatory hurdle cleared in the United States. Now, they are in talks with potential partners to commercialize and develop the vaccine. Ehrlich says the jury is out on whether this quick-shot regime will leave patients as resistant to hay fever several years down the road. But he adds: “I hope they do come out. They could be great.”
9. POLLEN SCREENERS
If you still hanker for a natural breeze, consider installing PollenTEC’s window screens. You can buy a roll and cut them to fit windows and doors, or order pre-cut rectangles. In independent European testing, the polyester screens removed 100 per cent of grass pollens, 99.7 per cent of birch pollen, and nearly 91 per cent of ragweed pollen from outside air. For information, see www.pollentec.com.
When it comes to your own face, if you’re the sort who must mow the grass or feels compelled to garden near aggravating trees, allergist Ehrlich advises wearing a triple-layered face mask to filter out the pollen. Timing is important: there’s far less pollen floating around on a still, drizzly evening than on a warm windy morning.
Next: Pollen Stoppers