If you're someone who is frequently checking the pollen count and allergy forecast to decide whether to go outside or not, you've likely tried a variety of ways to help reduce your allergy symptoms. March through May are typically the most severe times of the year for allergies also known as allergic rhinitis or ‘hay fever’. We've gathered information on what types of plants and flowers drive the worst allergy symptoms, and non-medical ways that you can reduce symptoms.
WHICH SPECIES DRIVE THE WORST ALLERGY SYMPTOMS?
Flowers and spring are closely associated with anecdotes like “April showers bring May flowers”, but many types of flowers are not the main source of pollen that we connect with allergy symptoms. That isn't to say there aren’t a few types of flowers that can cause allergies, but tree pollens are actually some of the heaviest influencers on allergy sufferers during the spring season, especially in the earlier months.
Ash, cedar, cypress, elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, and sycamore are some examples of likely allergy sources. Grasses are the next largest source of allergens in the spring months, often carrying into early summer. May is considered a cross-over period for higher allergy counts in both types, but luckily for some areas around the country, the peak seasons for these types of plants differ slightly.
While weeds (like ragweed) are also a top allergy producer, they don’t usually start producing significant amounts of pollen until summer and through fall (and occasionally into winter months for irregularly warm winters).
NON-MEDICAL WAYS TO REDUCE SPRING ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
- Check the Allergy Forecast: Similar to dealing with winter allergies in warmer climates, it is helpful to check for high pollen count days from your local news or weather apps to help you know when it might be a good day to stay indoors, if possible. Rainy days may seem like they are putting a temporary damper on pollen in the air, but following rain, pollen development spread usually increases as plants are nourished with rain.
- Seal & Purify Indoor Air: An air purifier can pull out any pollen that may have been let in. Keeping your windows, vents, and doors closed during peak times and overnight can prevent additional pollen grains from seeping in. Reminder: pollen is well-known for traveling many miles on the wind!
- Reduce Dust and use High Efficiency Filters: Vacuum and/or dust frequently in your home. Pollen, like many other allergens, can get easily attached to soft surfaces. Use an HVAC filter with a minimum Grade 14 to 16 (high efficiency) to remove very small particulates of 0.3 microns or larger.
- Use a High Filtration Mask When Outdoors: When outside, use your RZ Mask to shield your mouth and nose for the ultimate comfort, and use sunglasses or safety glasses to cover your eyes. Wearing a hat can also keep pollen out of your hair. If you spend a lot of time outdoors (i.e. lawn care, landscaping, etc.), especially on higher pollen days, laundering your clothes and showering soon after exposure can reduce the spread of pollen in your household.
RZ MASKS FOR ALLERGIES
EASY ON & OFF IN WARM TEMPERATURES
The M2 Mesh Mask is made for warmer temperatures, with the breathable mesh keeping you cool while you garden, mow or work outside. The single strap is easy to put on and off depending on the task at hand.
EASY ON & OFF IN COOL TEMPERATURES
If the days are cool but pollen or mold from leaves is in the air, the M1 Neoprene mask is the recommended product. Made from the same material as wetsuits, the neoprene keeps your face warm and dry. The one-strap design fits under helmets and hardhats for a comfortable fit that's easy to take on and off as needed.
ACTIVE, ALL DAY WORK
The M2.5 Mesh Mask features a double strap system for added security while you work. The mesh shell offers cool, breathable protection while the double straps are good for handsfree protection all day.