Grass pollen usually gets the blame for causing allergy symptoms in the early spring and summer. This year, grasses may still be stirring up allergies through July in areas that had wet weather during the spring.
My eyes, throat and nose are irritated long after normal where I live because the grasses keep pollinating to make up for the wet, cool spring. Wet conditions pushed the pollen counts down early on but now that we have drier conditions, the levels are coming up and so are my symptoms.
Avoidance is the best way to control allergies but that’s not easy in the summer when you want to be outdoors. It helps to know that only a small percentage of the 1,200 species of grass that grow in North America cause allergies.
Unfortunately, the most common grasses that rile up allergies are grown in yards and fields across this country. They include: Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, Kentucky bluegrass, orchard grass, sweet vernal grass and Timothy grass. Wouldn’t you know it? I have Kentucky bluegrass growing in my yard.
Preventative strategies are your next best defense against grass allergies.
•The bright side is your allergies should get you out of mowing the lawn. Delegate the task to someone else who doesn’t have your allergy problem.
•Instruct your lawn person to keep the grass cut short.
•Consider planting ground covers other than grass around your house. Some other choices produce much less pollen.
•Avoid the outdoors between 5 and 10 a.m. when pollen levels are highest.
•Keep windows in your home and car closed to reduce pollen exposure. Run the air conditioner instead.
•Pollen can still get indoors on you or your pets. Wash your clothes and shower frequently to remove pollen.
•Use an automatic dryer for drying your clothes rather than an outdoor clothesline.
Take your medication regularly and select medicines which target your symptoms. If it’s your nose that acts up, use a nose spray rather than a pill. If it’s your eyes that are irritated, try eye drops for allergies.