Autumn leaves can be gorgeous when they’re still hanging from trees. When they drop all over the yard, sidewalk and patio, however, they turn into garbage that can kick up fall allergies.
If allergens make yard work less than a joy for you this time of year, take heart.
“Many people think you can only control the environment inside the home, but there are also precautions you can take to help eliminate allergens outside as well,” said Richard Weber, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
Here are five tips from the ACAAI to help you lessen yard litter and reduce allergy symptoms:
- Pick a good time of day. Pollen counts are highest in midday and afternoon. That makes early morning and evening hours preferable for outdoor work.
- Wear the right clothes. These include long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, gardening gloves and maybe a pollen mask. Large sunglasses can help keep pollen and mold from bothering your eyes. Also, wear a hat to reduce the amount of pollen that sticks to your hair.
- Rake early and often, and don’t stop mowing. Mold and pollen can collect on fallen leaves. Keep raking, and continue to mow throughout the fall to keep grass from flowering and producing pollen. If these jobs bother you too much, get someone else to do them for you.
- Clean up when you’re done. Allergens can stick to your shoes, clothes and hair. Remove your shoes before coming back indoors, and then take a shower as soon as possible.
- Consider using allergy medications. Talk with your doctor about medications that can help reduce your symptoms and when it’s best to start taking them.
Of course, a runny nose and cough could be a sign of a cold instead of allergies. Taking this quiz may help you figure out what’s behind your symptoms.