Your Yearly Allergy Planner
Allergies are a year-round concern for many of us, those who suffer from what are called "perennial allergies". For us lucky people, both indoor and outdoor allergy triggers can stimulate allergy symptoms almost any time of the year. But even for people who only have seasonal-type allergies, their symptoms are never far from their minds even during the "good" months.
So, since it's the kickoff of another new year, I thought I'd write a month by month allergy "planner" to help you stay on the right track all through the year.
It's resolution time, so why not think about some allergy control-related resolutions you can work to implement this year? I provided a list of my "Top 6" nasal allergy resolutions this time last year that can get you started.
If you live in the south, especially in Texas, January is high time for what is called "cedar fever." Cedar trees pollinate in warm climates in January and February, and the resulting symptoms in sensitive folks can be severe. If this affects you, be sure you have plenty of allergy medicine on hand! And stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
The long winter months are dragging on, with no end in sight, for many of us who live in northern climates. If you are allergic to dust mites, pet dander or indoor mold, take all the precautions you can to rid your house of these substances, as much as possible. Since it's been a long time since most of us have had any fresh air in our houses, these items could be building up.
Depending on how far south you live, tree pollens can begin to appear in the environment in March. If you only take allergy medicine for seasonal symptoms, then be sure to plan ahead and get that prescription filled. Most allergy medicines take a week or two of taking them to provide the full benefit, so start taking them in anticipation of rising tree pollen levels.
Tree pollen season gets into full swing in almost all areas of the country by mid to late April, so be sure you have your allergy medicine and are taking it as prescribed.
Also, track pollen levels and stay indoors when the levels are at their peak levels. This won't eliminate symptoms entirely, but it will certainly help.
May is a bit of an overlap between tree pollen levels and the emergence of the first grass pollens. If you're allergic to grass pollens, then take your medicine and follow the standard pollen avoidance measures as well as you can.
With the weather warming up, you'll be tempted to get outdoors and be more active, but this isn't always the best idea for people with pollen allergies, so do use caution.
Grass pollens are at their peak this month, so if you're allergic to grass, stay indoors when the levels are highest (early mornings & hot, dry, windy days) and take your medicine! Talk with your doctor if your symptoms become difficult to manage.
With the days getting warmer, you could find yourself experiencing a sensitivity to the sun or to sunblock lotion, or even to pool chlorine. This is not really an allergy, per se, but it could make your allergy symptoms even more bothersome.
Also, in June, children will be home and outdoors more. If they have allergic asthma, you might find their asthma becomes more difficult to control. So, a visit to the doctor could be in order to update the Asthma Action Plan.
Grass pollens continue to be problematic into July, although tree pollens, even in the most northern regions, should no longer be an issue. Continue to manage your allergies by taking your medication as prescribed, staying indoors with air conditioning and watching the pollen levels.
The dreaded ragweed and other weed pollens rear their ugly heads in mid to late August and this is when many of us experience some of our most violent allergy symptoms.
Also increasing in late August are outdoor molds, which can be found in garden soil, as well as early fallen leaves.
Don't stop taking your allergy medicine this month! And if symptoms get out of control, call your doctor for advice and possible adjustment of your treatment plan. And stay indoors when pollen and mold counts are high.
If you have oral allergy syndrome, you could also find yourself having oral itching and more when you eat certain fruits and vegetables, just something to be aware of.
Weed pollen levels will continue to be high throughout September (unless you live in an area where frosts come early), so keep on the same path as August.
Also, kids have returned to school by early September, where they may find all sorts of new allergens, including dust mites, fumes from new carpet, fresh paint or cleaning solutions, classroom pet dander and more. If you an allergic child, be sure to visit the classroom and confer with the teacher and school nurse about your child's needs and treatment plan.
At last! The frosts usually arrive this month and finally kill off the weed pollens. So ragweed-sensitive folks should begin to feel some relief of allergy symptoms, at least from weed pollens.
But October kicks off the holidays and dusty autumn and Halloween decorations could bring on fresh symptoms in those who are allergic to dust and mold, depending on how you store your things during the off season.
So, as always, avoidance and medication are your best strategy for allergy control.
Now the holidays are really getting started, with possible exposure to unusual foods, other people's homes and now that it's getting colder, more dust, more pet dander and other indoor allergens.
Keep your home as dust-free as you can, take your medication and take action to reduce pet dander and mold spores, especially from areas you spend a lot of time in, such as your bedroom and the living room.
The year is about to draw to a close, but this month can bring some big challenges when it comes to holiday allergens. If you are allergic to such things, then take the right steps to control your allergy symptoms as best you can.
Hope you found this yearly allergy planner to be helpful!