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Outdoor seasonal allergy avoidance

Pollens

Pollen is one of the tiniest microscopic triggers, which causes seasonal allergy symptoms. The specific season varies, depending on which pollen and geographic area. Allergies cannot be cured. But the symptoms of the allergy can be reduced by avoiding contact with the allergen.

Peak months in Minnesota:

  • Tree pollen: April through June
  • Grass pollen: May through July
  • Weed pollen: summer through hard frost in fall
  • Ragweed allergy: August through the hard frost

Actions to decrease pollen in homes:

  • Keep windows closed as much as possible.
  • Use central air conditioning or set on "re-circulate"which will filter pollens from the air in your home.
  • Shower and change clothing after outdoor activities to wash off pollen allergens and decrease indoor air levels.
  • Change filters frequently as instructed.
  • Consider HEPA filter (high efficiency particle air filter) in the bedroom.

Actions to minimize outdoor pollen exposure:

  • Avoid peak pollen times outdoors, particularly 5-10 in the morning. This will lessen the amount of pollen you inhale.
  • Consider a mask and sunglasses to mow lawn during peak pollen allergen levels.
  • The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) tracks pollen counts at aaaai.org/nab. Click on "View Levels" to help you avoid prolonged outdoor time during peak levels.
  • Plan indoor activities when the pollen count or humidity is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen levels are higher.
  • Take a vacation during the peak pollen allergen level to a lower pollen area or indoors.
  • Keep car windows closed when traveling.

Outdoor molds

Allergy to molds is quite common for children and adults, both indoors and outdoors. Molds are microscopic fungi with tiny spores which thrive on humidity and spread through winds. Common allergenic molds include alternaria, aspergillus, and cladosporium.

Peak months: Outdoor mold levels are highest from snow melt in spring through snow cover in fall, as snow covers the ground vegetation which produces molds. In addition, outdoor mold levels peak after rains and are particularly high in September and October. Mold levels are also higher with decaying leaves and vegetation in later fall.

Actions to decrease exposure to outdoor mold exposure:

  • Avoid raking, blowing or jumping in leaves.
  • Avoid mowing lawns or wear mask during mowing.
  • Avoid barns and storage areas for hay.
  • Keep trees trimmed over home to diminish moisture and mold growth on home and surrounding vegetation.
  • Shower and change clothing after activities outdoors to wash off mold spores and decrease indoor air levels of molds.

Helpful websites and resources:

Pollen.com is a reliable source of "pollen forecasts" in your zip code area, maintained by Surveillance Data Inc., a national monitor of medical and environmental statistics.

  • American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
  • National Allergy Bureau (pollen and mold counts)                         
  • American Lung Association of Minnesota
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
  • Allergy & Asthma Network / Mothers of Asthmatics
  • Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)
  • American Lung Association

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Reviewed by PIP 7/2015 © Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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