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Conquer allergy season with tips from Sam Champion

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With spring in full swing many Americans are suffering from dreaded allergy attacks. This can make working out outdoors very uncomfortable either in the morning or evening. Sam Champion host for the Weather Channel’s new show America’s Morning Headquarters offers insight on how to battle this time of year.

According to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), Spring 2014 will bring one of the most intense allergy seasons to date, due to winter’s sudden rises and dips in temperatures as well as the windy conditions, activating and spreading more pollen by plants, trees and grass.

Here are a few of Sam’s tips to get you through allergy season:

1. Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers

  • Find out what triggers your allergies and avoid those, if possible
  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Aim for outdoor workouts between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or after the rain, when pollen counts are lowest
  • Use the air conditioning in your house and car, and keep the filters clean

2. Follow the Weather Pattern: Take extra steps when pollen counts are high

Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up during certain weather condition. Be sure to:

  • Close doors and windows after 5 p.m., as pollen counts are highest in the evening and early in the morning
  • Clean and vacuum often when it’s humid, which is when mold and dust mites tend to thrive
  • Remove and wash your clothing when you come in from the outdoors on a high pollen count day, as you carry these allergens into the home and onto your furniture
  • If you have asthma, keep track of cold, dry weather conditions - a sudden drop in temperature can trigger asthma attacks
  • Avoid prolonged exposure outdoors during smoggy days - air pollution has been shown to worsen allergies and asthma symptoms

3. Keep track of indoor allergens & keep the air clean

During the height of allergy season, try and keep your indoor allergen count as low as possible, with these tools:

  • Check your local pollen forecasts to keep track of current pollen levels - we have a pollen forecast on AMHQ
  • Check out Febreze’s indoor allergen heat map to find out where the allergy hot spots are in your home
  • Keep allergens from becoming airborne from your home’s fabric furniture by using Febreze Allergen Reducer
  • Regularly clean your home with a HEPA filter vacuum, and be sure to vacuum fabric surfaces after you’ve sprayed them with Febreze Allergen Reducer

Background on how the weather plays a significant role when it comes to seasonal allergies (found on Weather.com):

Dry, windy days. Wind plays a large role in determining how much your allergies will act up. Wind blows pollen into the air, increasing hay fever symptoms and it also causes great mold distribution. If you have pollen and mold allergies, shut the windows and stay indoors on windy days. Plant pollens carried by the wind are the cause of most nose, eye, and lung allergic reactions. Hay fever sufferers seem to be especially affected by windy, dry conditions.

Rainy or humid days. If you're allergic to pollen, humid or damp days are good. The moisture weighs down the pollen, keeping it on the ground. However, moisture makes mold grow, both inside and out. Dust mites also thrive in humid air, and wet conditions trigger grass growth, and consequently, more grass pollen in the late spring and early summer. Rain in the fall or winter can lead to greater tree pollen counts the following spring.

Cold. The onset of cooler weather can be bad news for some asthma and eczema sufferers. A sudden drop in temperature can trigger asthma attacks while colder, drier weather often makes atopic eczema worse. Fluctuating winter temperatures can also cause cold-induced hives. Hives can develop when skin is exposed to cold or warmed after exposure to cold.

Heat. Air pollution is worst on hot summer days. Ozone and smog in the air can be a serious trigger for people with allergic asthma. Also, warm weather patterns in winter that continue into the spring can increase pollen counts. A combination of mild weather and precipitation can lead to an increase in mold spore counts.

Smog. Air pollution has been shown to worsen allergies and asthma symptoms. Recent research has also shown that ozone can cause a chronic inflammation of the airways for asthma sufferers.

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