Bad time for allergies; here are 9 ways to combat them

SHARE Bad time for allergies; here are 9 ways to combat them

PHOTO: Dr. Joseph Leija up on the roof, collecting the daily allergy count. | PHOTO COURTESY LOYOLA GOTTLIEB MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

As we head into Labor Day weekend, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here goes: It’s going to be a challenge for folks with allergies.

That’s the prediction of Dr. Joseph Leija, and he oughta know. The allergist goes to the roof of a building on the grounds of Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital every weekend morning during allergy season — that’s April until October — to gather pollen samples. He is the lone person certified by the National Allergy Bureau to provide the Midwest’s official daily allergy count.

The count for mold is very high, weeds high and ragweed moderate, according to a statement Leija provided, making for bad air quality. (Wednesday’s mold count was the second highest of this season, according to Leija.)

So, what’s a person to do? Here are some recommendations from Leija:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. I know, it’s summer last hurrah, and you don’t want to be stuck indoors. But you don’t want your allergies to kick up, do you? Of course not. Bring the party indoors.
  • Use that air conditioner. This isn’t the time to be crimping on electricity. Allergy sufferers should have their windows closed and the AC running. Use AC in the car, too. Again, keep the windows closed and AC on during this time.
  • Get rid of standing water. It’s a breeding ground for mold. Got a dark and dank basement? Keep the door to it closed because that’s prime territory for mold, too.
  • Check your showerhead. I never thought of this, but it makes sense. Showerheads are great places for mold to grow.
  • Remember your accessories! Shoes you wear outside as well as purses and other bags should be kept out of your main living area, if possible. They hold onto the bad stuff you pick up while outdoors.

The poor air quality and counts often bring on headaches, fatigue, sinus congestion and the sniffles. If the poor air quality has you feeling punk, Leija suggests:

  • Wash your hair. Right before bedtime, Leija says. That way you get any allergens away from your face.
  • Use saline solution. Rinse your nostrils with it to get rid of any trapped pollen.
  • Take your meds. If your allergies are severe enough that you have been prescribed medication, take it! This is no time to be skipping it.

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