Wednesday August 17th, 2016

Allergies outside the park

Pollen, the fear of springtime. Our eyes water, we are constantly stuffed up, our noses itch and–for the most extreme cases–we even have sneezing attacks and asthma.

An allergy to grass pollen is the most common in Spain, and it increases when temperatures start to rise and flowers start blooming. This year, good temperatures have meant that symptoms may drag on until June or July.

And the solution always tends to be the same: to avoid open green spaces like parks, forests, and the like. But pollen and mites are not restricted to these sites and may be hiding in unexpected places.

We’ll tell you a few of them:

Footwear

Although they travel by air, gametes from seed plants can fall to the ground and end up on our shoes. This is why it is important to change our shoes often and brush them off, to prevent pollen coming into our homes with us.

Clothing

Just like with our shoes, we can carry around the precise thing that is causing our allergy. This can happen either when we are walking and they end up on our clothes, or from hanging them out in the sun after washing them. Indeed, experts recommend not hanging clothes outdoors in the early hours of the morning or last hours of the afternoon, since these are pollination times and, thus, the hours of greatest risk of pollen becoming embedded in our clothing.

Transportation

If you drive a car, it’s better to leave the windows closed. With the heat, we tend to open the windows and this means that, besides fresh air, whatever else may be carried on the air enters the car. So in addition to pollen being blown directly on our faces, it can also stay inside the vehicle. And if we turn on the air conditioning, we should make sure that is equipped with fresh filters.
Moreover, the danger worsens in high pollution areas, as they cause damage to the respiratory tract, and may contribute to rhinitis and asthma.

Stuffed animals, carpets, curtains and mattresses

Over time, all these household items gather dust and become favorite sites for mites. So they recommend washing them at least once every two weeks. Run the vacuum over all carpets and air out mattresses and sheets well, washing bedding frequently at a temperature of at least 30º.

Public chairs

Movie theaters, restaurants, theaters, airplanes, buses… All public spaces through which people are constantly moving are liable to be plagued with particles. What other people have on their clothes or shoes will remain on the chair and be passed on to the next person who sits down, in a never-ending cycle.

Pets

Of course, animals will have the highest concentration of dust and pollen particles. Above all if they go out into the yard, although there is the same danger for housebound pets if you take them out on regular walks. It is recommendable to run a damp towel over them when they come inside, and stop them from sleeping on our couches or beds.

Nose

The nose hairs are a natural filter so that particles don’t end up inside our bodies. But if they stay there, they may continue to bother us. For this reason, it is good to regularly rinse the nose out with saline solution to expel everything that may be causing our allergies to play up.