Allergies: Avoiding Outdoor Triggers

Overview

When you have allergies, you may feel better or worse at different times of the year. Learning what triggers your allergy symptoms will help you manage and treat your allergies. Managing your allergies is an important part of your health and can help you avoid other problems.

How can you avoid exposure to outdoor allergens?

Pollens

The following tips can help you avoid pollens, even if you don't know what type of pollen you are allergic to. If you do know, you can fine-tune these tips for that type of pollen.

  • Stay inside when pollen levels are high.

    Watch local weather reports for pollen counts in your area. In general, the pollen counts are lowest just after sunrise. They then begin to increase and are usually highest at midday and throughout the afternoon. They begin to decrease around sunset.

  • Keep windows and doors closed, both during the day and at night.

    Use air-conditioning, and change or clean all filters every month. Do not use a fan with an open window, as this can bring more pollen into your home.

  • Keep your grass mowed.

    If possible, have a family member or friend do it for you. If this is not possible, use antihistamines before you mow, and wear a pollen or dust mask while you mow.

  • Avoid bringing pollen back into your home when you go outdoors.

    Take a shower and change clothing after you work or play outside. And dry your clothes in a vented dryer. Do not dry them outside on a clothesline.

Mold

Mold may cause allergies that get worse in damp weather. Mold also produces spores that move around in outdoor air during warmer months. By taking the following precautions, you may have fewer or less severe symptoms.

  • Avoid going outside on rainy or windy days when mold spores may be in the air.
  • Avoid activities that expose you to molds.

    Examples include gardening (especially working with compost), mowing the lawn, and raking leaves.

  • Keep rain gutters and drains clear of leaves and other debris.

    Also, make sure that the water from downspouts flows away from the house.

  • Remove excess leaves, grass clippings, and compost from the areas close to your home.
  • Use products to reduce the mold that can grow in your car air conditioner.

    These products are available in auto supply stores.

Credits

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rohit K Katial MD - Allergy and Immunology