Backyard Nature Notes: Avoiding Allergies

by Carolyn Allen

Editor's note: The following information is not meant to replace needed medical advice. Please seek appropriate medical treatment from a trained professional whenever it's needed. Your health is always more important than saving time or money.

Having lived in several parts of the country, my family and I have been affected by allergies in varyiing degrees, depending on the location. I have great empathy for those who have to deal with allergies. Some of the suggestions below aren't conducive to enjoying your backyard during critical seasons...but I'm opening the discussion to your creative work-arounds for outdoor enjoyment when you or your family members are sensitive to the world around them...

Here are some general tips to help you and other family members cope with pollen allergies.

  • Try to stay indoors during peak pollen hours: usually 5 am to 10 am.
  • After you've been outside, change your clothes (but not in your bedroom) and take a quick shower. Pollen from the air can collect on your clothes and hair. Have children change clothes when they come in from playing outside.
  • Shower and wash your hair every night to remove pollen.
  • Don't line-dry clothes.
  • Pets who live both indoors and outdoors should be bathed often.
  • Keep windows in home closed.
  • Monitor pollen counts and adjust outdoor activities accordingly. Dry, windy days, especially after a rain, can be particularly high in pollen.
  • Use air conditioning and change filters often.
  • Cover air conditioning vents with filters.
  • Reduce the time you spend mowing the lawn (which stirs up both pollen and mold spores) and raking leaves (which stirs up mold spores). If you must mow the lawn, wear a mask to filter out pollen and mold spores.
  • When driving, keep windows rolled up and use your air conditioner (set on recirculate) to reduce pollen exposure.

In addition to following these guidelines, make sure you are getting proper treatment to reduce the impact of pollen.

If you want to learn more about the recent Genome breakthrough, a good link is

Carolyn Allen is a Backyard Naturalist and publishes "Backyard Nature Notes". To subscribe send mailto: . Or you can contact Carolyn at Visit her website at

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