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The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Allergies

by Alen Editor February 27, 2020

 

 

Are you tired of dealing with one allergy season after another? Sometimes it seems like there’s just no end to the constant stream of watery eyes and runny noses among other annoying allergy symptoms. 

If you’re tired of carrying around tissues and are ready to put your allergies behind you, check out these tips to help you understand the ins-and-outs of each allergy season. Learn the causes of allergies during each season with advice on how to avoid them outside and indoors.

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

How to Get Rid of Spring Allergies

Spring Allergen Dandelion

When you picture spring what do you see? Is it sunshine, spending time outdoors, picnics, warm breezes, and a general feeling of happiness? Or is it itchy eyes, sneezing, constantly worrying about pollen and weather, and dreaded spring cleaning? If the second example sounds like you, you’re one of the millions who probably see spring as a season of suffering and misery; but you don’t have to.

Read on to find out what may be causing those unwanted issues as well as ways you can reduce their effects.

Get Rid of Pollen Allergies in Spring

We know pollen was briefly mentioned earlier, but it’s in Spring this allergen comes to full effect so we thought it deserves some extra attention.

There are many types of pollen, many of which begin to fill the air during the spring. These include tree pollen which begins to release from awakening dormant trees, such as the infamous cedar tree (cedar fever), birch, hickory, and walnut. Another culprit is grass pollen. Examples of grass pollen include common lawn variations, such as timothy, Bermuda, and Kentucky bluegrass, as well as “weed” pollen, such as Sagebrush, Redroot Pigweed, Ragweed, Lamb’s Quarters, Russian Thistle and English Plantain.

You can find more examples of common pollen responsible for allergies, plus, great tips to beat them in our blog post, "It's Open Season on Allergy Season". Regardless of the type of pollen, the symptoms can feel equally terrible and can result in a lot more time spent indoors binge-watching the latest Netflix series rather than quality time spent outdoors enjoying the warmer weather.

Often the best way to improve your indoor air and combat seasonal waves of pollen is to have multiple air purifiers throughout your home, especially in rooms which you spend a lot of time in. Paired with the proper filters, this can dramatically reduce the amount of pollen in your home, drastically decreasing your suffering from seasonal allergies.

Why Spring Cleaning Causes Allergy Symptoms

Spring cleaning stirs up more than an urge to clean your whole home. In fact, there are serious impacts of spring cleaning indoors that kicks up dust, reveals mold, disturbs pet dander and more, that may leave you sneezing, coughing, and crying.
Many cleaning chemicals contain a range of VOCs. According to the EPA, VOCs, otherwise known as volatile organic compounds, are gases that are released from certain chemicals that are often in cleaning chemicals and other common household items. Using these types of cleaning chemicals, especially in high amounts, such as may be the case during periods of intense cleaning, can drastically raise the number of VOCs in your air. Furthermore, if you’re planning a fresh coat of paint, using seasonal decorations, considering new furniture or bedding, these things may be responsible for releasing large amounts of unwanted VOCs into your home’s air.
When large amounts of VOCs build up in your home, the air can become unsafe to breathe. Currently, no general standards exist for safe VOC concentrations, so we recommend that in addition to one or more air purifiers, it’s generally a good idea to limit your exposure to these chemicals, not only for seasonal comfort but also for your long-term health.

Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 White

SHOP FIT50 FOR VOCs

Understanding Particles in the Air

With spring, there are a wide range of particles in the air. These particles range from those which are fairly easy to see, such as smoke and dust particles, to particles so tiny they are ultra-microscopic and entirely undetectable to the human eye. Enter microns. Microns, which are one-millionth of a meter in size, are how particles like these are measured. To illustrate the size of a micron, or particles which may be less than a micron in size, consider that the human eye cannot visually see anything less than 10 microns in size. Here is a simple chart to give you even more examples:

 

  Pollen Particle Sizes Sturtevant Inc

Image Credit: Sturtevant Inc.

Beach sand: 100-10,000 microns
Spores: 3 – 40 microns
Mold: 3 – 12 microns
Bacteria: 0.3 – 60 microns
Atmospheric dust: 0.001 to 30 microns
Car emissions: 1 – 150 microns
Pure oxygen: 0.0005 microns

For even more examples, check out The Engineering ToolBox.

How to Get Rid of Summer Allergies

Summer Allergen Palm Trees

Summer often goes under the radar as an allergy season, but for some sufferers, it can be just as bad as the spring and fall seasons.

Don’t let summer allergies ruin your vacation and time outdoors, check out these tips to ensure you can enjoy the sunny weather during this fun season!

Get Rid of Grass Allergies

Contrary to popular opinion, flowers do not cause seasonal allergies in the summer. In fact, the main culprit is actually grass. Grass flourishes in the spring, but with the dry temperature and heavier winds of summer it’s microscopic pollen gets carried through the air. This leads to sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and potentially asthma among sufferers. In some cases, people can even develop atopic dermatitis when sitting in or touching grass.

To minimize these effects, you should keep your lawn short and keep windows and doors closed. Furthermore, check the pollen count in the weather update and stay indoors on high grass pollen days. To enjoy the air in your home, use an air purifier to clean the air of irritants and keep windows closed when possible.

Get Rid of Insect Allergies

Insects are fond of the summer weather, so you should take steps to reduce your chances of getting stung. This is crucial for the millions of people who are allergic to the venom that comes from an insect sting.

First and foremost, you should know the difference between an allergic reaction and a normal reaction to an insect sting. A normal reaction results in pain, swelling, and redness confined to the sting site. This can be resolved by simply washing the area with soap and water. However, an allergic reaction requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to an insect sting may include hives, itching, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and tightness in the chest. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Outdoors, you can reduce your chances of getting stung by avoiding sweet-smelling perfumes and bright clothing that may attract insects. At home, you can use an air purifier such as the Alen BreatheSmart 75i to cleanse the air of tantalizing scents that may attract insects.

 

How to Get Rid of Fall Allergies

Fall Allergen Leaves

It’s a cool, crisp, sunny fall day. You go out to apple pick, wander your way through a corn maze, or enjoy a bumpy, jovial hayride to find yourself sneezing, rubbing red eyes, and blowing your nose. 

Don’t miss out on the fall festivities due to seasonal allergies!

To make sure you enjoy every last bit of pumpkin spice consuming, leaf-peeping, and hot apple cider guzzling, learn how to stave off common fall allergy symptoms that can dampen the mood. Wouldn’t want allergies ruining the fun of these few fleeting months of pure bliss, would ya?

Get Rid of Pollen and Mold Allergies

Any organic matter is a breeding ground for mold—especially decomposing leaves. While freshly fallen leaves may seem crisp and inviting, they’ll make you sneeze like crazy if you have mold allergies. 

If you don’t want to put the kibosh on fall festivities, wear a mask when spending excessive time outdoors or around leaves. You can also eat a spoonful of local raw honey per day as well or a number of natural pollen allergy remedies to build up your tolerance. Additionally, wear long sleeves and pants when raking leaves to keep allergens off of your skin. When you get into the house, pop your clothes in the washer right away!

Get Rid of Ragweed and Hay Fever Allergies

Hay fever kicks in around mid-August and doesn’t subside until a nice hard freeze. That means hay fever will be around for all of your fall gallivantings. If you notice you’re sneezing, itchy, and suffering from a runny nose and other cold-like symptoms, you very well may have a hay fever allergy—along with 7.8% of American adults.

So how do you avoid hay fever? While out and about enjoying fall festivities, you’ll need to carry an inhaler with you for constricted airways and/or take a daily antihistamine. While indoors, you can use an air purifier to cut down on airborne contaminants that can irritate your sinuses.

Additionally, you should be extra careful when visiting farms as exposure to hay and straw can cause people to deal with “Farmer’s Lung,” which can have lasting effects on your allergy tolerance and overall health.

Get Rid of Wool Allergies

This one is simple. If you get super itchy and develop a rash or hives when you wear wool products, then you most likely have a wool allergy. Good thing we live in a world where hypoallergenic materials exist!

Wool allergies are actually a reaction to lanolin, a waxy secretion that goats and sheep produce, so you’ll want to try to avoid this warm and fuzzy fabric if at all possible. If you’re allergic to wool, try alpaca (which is lanolin-free), choose soft fleece or warm down, or stock up on hydrocortisone cream to treat an allergic reaction to your beloved woolens.

Get Rid of Food Allergies

Fall also means it’s time for kids to go back to school, so parents should take extra precautions if their child has a food allergy. Food allergies are fairly common among children, as about 1 out of 13 kids have a food allergy. If you’re nervous about sending your kid back to school this fall because he or she is one of the minority, don’t fret! You can send your child to school with an Epipen, educate your kids about foods to avoid, and tell teachers and classmates about the signs of an allergic reaction and foods your child is allergic to. That way, your child will be prepared if they eat something by accident.

When it’s time for Halloween—the culmination of fall aside from Thanksgiving—you can spread child food allergy awareness and keep other kids safe by taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project, which promotes food safety for kids with allergies. This will allow you and your young ones to enjoy all the fun fall has to offer without incident.

Further Advice for Fighting Fall Allergies

The best way to make your fall outing fun and not overtaken by allergies is to take an antihistamine beforehand. If your allergies are really bad, consider starting allergy shots. While allergy shots take months to make a noticeable difference, you’ll be ready to go by next fall.

If you don’t suffer sinus allergies, but get itchy rashes and hives when you come into contact with hay, straw, and corn stalks, then you should wear long sleeves and pants to reduce your exposure, as this could be a sign of contact dermatitis (another kind of allergy). 

Finally, ensure your home is free from fall allergies by using an air purifier such as the Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 to filter out contaminants that cause irritation indoors.



How to Get Rid of Winter Allergies

Winter Allergens

Outdoor allergies are rarely a problem during winter, but indoor air issues can be just as problematic.

In addition to regular indoor contaminants such as dust and mold, the dramatic dip in temperature can also increase the toxicity of air inside homes. Take note of these tips to cope with cold weather and improve the air quality in your home during winter.

Avoid Outdoor Cold Allergies

Although outdoor winter allergies are uncommon, it’s still important to be aware of potential dangers when venturing outdoors. For example, some people experience a skin reaction known as cold urticaria, which causes a rash and hive when the thermometer drops.

If you have asthma, you may also notice constriction of your airways when it’s cold outside.

If you’re going to be partaking in any outdoor activities like a penguin plunge, Thanksgiving 5K, or races and walks in cold temperatures, wear a breathable face mask, carry your inhaler, and wear warm clothes.

Get Rid of Indoor Dust and Mold Allergies

Often, when people say “dust” they may think of “dust bunnies” and similar debris found in their home, usually behind furniture. This debris is more than just dust and debris that comes from outdoors. Unfortunately, a significant amount of it is created in your home from a variety of sources. Dust is a combination of materials and irritants, including dust mites, dust mite fecal matter, fibers, hair, shed skin cells, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, and pet dander, among others. Additionally, in metropolitan areas, dust can also contain smoke particles and soot from the atmosphere.

Outdoor mold was discussed earlier, but you should take extra precautions to prevent it from growing inside your home. Mold often grows on food sources, such as wood, cloth, insulation, and wallboard. It can appear in less than 24 hours, especially in areas of high moisture or water damage. You can limit mold growth in your home through air purification, drying and cleaning surfaces that often have interact with moisture, and by limiting humidity levels in the home.

Why Does Indoor Air Quality Decline During in Winter

Indoor air quality tends to be especially low during the winter for a couple key reasons that are fairly easy to explain. As the temperatures begin to drop and stay consistently colder, we tend to close windows and doors more consistently, our pets begin to stay indoors more often, and during certain times of the season, we cook large meals more often and increase the use of our fireplaces, all of which can increase the count of unwanted particles in our air.
These events are less common during other times of the year, so you should pay extra attention to the air quality in your home during the winter and consider using an air purifier to reduce airborne contaminants.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

You can greatly improve indoor air quality by not using pollution sources such as toxic cleaning solutions like bleach, cooking appliances, and fireplaces. Additionally, gas emissions from aging equipment can be reduced with proper maintenance.

Though we may enjoy the scents that candles and other types of air fresheners provide, many aren’t aware that these types of fresheners can decrease the quality of your air. Many of these store-bought products, even those labeled “green” or “naturally scented”, may still contain a wide array of chemicals, some of which in the right concentrations can have negative impacts on your health.

We also recommend occasionally opening a window or two every couple of days to let fresh air circulate in your home. Indoor air, especially during the winter months, can be up to five times more polluted than that found outdoors, according to a study done by the EPA. Letting the air in your home circulate and refresh with cleaner, outdoor air can provide a boost to your air quality when it needs it most.

Don’t forget to use an air purifier, such as the Alen BreatheSmart 75i—which cleans up to 1300 SqFt every 30 minutes. This purifier is ideal for large rooms or open floor plans and is a great addition to a home during any season because it inhibits the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mold which cause allergies.

 

How to Choose an Air Purifier to Combat Allergies

With all your knowledge on what makes a great air filter, you’re ready to pick your air purifier. Bear in mind, not all purifiers are created equal. In fact, an air purifier is only as effective if it operates as an efficient system. Alen shines in this regard.

Our filters, like those found in the BreatheSmart 45i and BreatheSmart 75i, form a sealed filtration system within the purifier, stopping air from flowing around the filter and ensuring effectiveness, unlike other purifiers which may not seal this way, allowing dirty air to pass through completely unfiltered and back into your environment.

Check out answers to common questions about air purifiers and find a solution catered to your home’s unique needs!

Does Room Size Matter?

This is one of the most critical aspects of choosing an air purifier. All air purifiers are only effective at cleaning the air in one room, and only up to certain square footage. While the volume of the room also plays an important part, many homes have similar dimensions in this regard, allowing you to simplify your calculations. Using a simple tool like the Room Area Calculator will provide an exact measurement of your rooms square footage, based on only two measurements.

Again, in square footage capability and efficiency, Alen purifiers rise above the competition. Many of our units can completely cycle and clean the air in a room in as little as 30 minutes, and purifiers like the 75i can handle rooms up to 1,300 square feet, dwarfing most other consumer purifiers. All of this while operating at a sound level you can barely hear, using as little energy as a 50-watt light bulb.

Do You Need an Air Purifier for Multiple Rooms?

An air purifier is a single-room solution because no purifier can effectively clean around corners, through doorways, through walls or even ventilation openings. This means that in order to create a whole-home clean air solution, multiple purifiers are necessary.

We typically suggest purchasing at least two purifiers, like those found in our purifier bundles, as you work towards turning your home into a clean air paradise. The best rooms to place these purifiers are where you spend the most time or have the greatest concerns, like bedrooms, living rooms, or kitchens. Many of our customers, like Indy, note an immediate difference in their air:

As mentioned earlier, be sure that the purifiers you choose are adequately sized for each room’s square footage and concerns. With several filter options, you can address issues like unwanted odors, mold, dust, allergens, and more, on a case by case basis, or change them with the seasons, to address seasonal allergies in spring, fall, and winter, or year-round. Even better, you can subscribe to our Alen Autoship filter subscription program and automatically receive replacement filters for each purifier without having to remember!

 

 

Put an End to Seasonal Allergies

You’re now more empowered than ever to end seasonal misery, free from pollen, mold, dust, and other irritants. Get the relief you seek by using these tips to minimize the effects of outdoor allergens and clean the air in your home with an Alen air purifier.

Still have questions?

Pure air is all we do. Our team of clean air experts is standing by to provide you with all of the guidance and answers you need! Contact us to get a free, fully customized clean air plan for your whole home and breathe clean, pure air in no time.

 

 


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