February might seem a bit early to start worrying about spring allergies, but the reality is that the height of tree pollen season is not that far off, especially if you happen to live in an area that has had a mild winter.
Trees generally begin to pollinate anywhere from January through April each year. The pollen levels will start out low and gradually increase as more and more trees begin to have their sap rising and their vegetation leafing out.
A number of different types of trees can produce allergy-inducing pollen, including:
As spring moves on and our outdoor environment gets greener, grass pollen levels begin to rise. If you are sensitive to both tree pollen and grass pollen, your allergy symptoms may really begin to spiral out of control. In addition, outdoor molds emerge from their wintertime dormant state as soon as things begin to thaw, meaning that by late spring, you could potentially have a triple whammy going.
5 Steps You Can Take to Minimize Spring Allergies
1. Know the pollen and mold counts! If you keep track of when pollen and mold spore levels are highest, you will know when to stay indoors and when it is safer to be outside, enjoying the welcome spring weather. Time your outdoor activities for when pollen counts are lowest, usually early morning and not on hot, windy days. More information on this topic here: Do You Know Your Pollen Count?
2. Make an appointment to see your doctor now. If you haven't been taking your allergy medicines during the winter months, now is the time to get started again... before pollen levels begin to rise. It takes even the best allergy medicines at least a week or two of consistent use to reach full effectiveness. Check with your doctor about whether a prescription nasal steroid spray might be usefor for you -- some people are finding that these sprays can be key in controlling spring allergy symptoms. It's important to realize there are many options for treating allergies these days and new ones are being introduced each year. Find out How You Can Know Which Allergy Medicine Is Best for You
3. Keep those windows closed! Opening the screens and doors is mighty tempting in the spring after a few months of being shut up indoors, but mesh screens will not keep out the pollen. So if you have a pollen allergy, your best bet will be to limit outdoor air from circulating into your home. Use your air conditioner, if needed. Also, change your air filters in your systems regularly. And, you can use room air purifiers with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters that can remove 99% of airborne allergens and irritants. Plus, when you do go out and travel in your car, it's also a great idea to keep the windows up.
4. Get rid of pollen and mold in your indoor environment as best you can.
Cleaning up your personal environment is one of the most fruitful action steps you can take toward better allergy health. It's not easy, but you'll find a number of tips in this article that will get you started on the right track: Spring Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferers