With outdoor air pollution comes problems with allergies. All you have to do is go outside and suddenly the stuffy nose and watery eyes start happening. Outdoor pollutants come in the form of smoke, dust, ozone, and even emissions from vehicles and buildings that can lead to poor air quality. This is particularly common in cities. If you are an asthma or allergy sufferer, you also know that poor air quality only makes your symptoms worse. Here’s what you can do about it.
Protect Yourself from Outdoor Air Pollution
Ozone and particle pollution are two of the worst things for someone with allergies. If you aren’t sure what your outdoor allergy triggers are, an allergist can perform the proper tests to identify triggers. It’s important to know what aggravates your asthma or allergies so you can avoid them. Here are some helpful tips for how to protect yourself:
- Ozone peaks between 2 pm-7 pm, so plan your outdoor activities for either later in the evening or first thing in the morning. Particle pollution (aka smoke or dust) is worse in the morning and the evening when people are returning home from work.
- If you plan to run or workout outside, you may want to change up the type of activity or at least lessen the intensity on days where air quality is bad (or simply move your workout indoors).
- If you have been prescribed a rescue inhaler, make sure to bring it with you just in case you might need it.
- Keep all windows closed, whether you’re sitting at home or in your car (opt for the AC, instead).
Protect Your Home from Bad Air Quality
Unfortunately, if you step outside on a day where the air quality is poor you could track smoke and other pollutants on your clothes and into your home. This can also exacerbate your symptoms and make being in your house just as rough as being outdoors. Combine this with cleaning sprays and chemicals, perfumes, and other scents and you may be dealing with a pretty brutal bout of allergy symptoms. To reduce allergens and improve air quality in your home, here’s what you should do:
- Remove your clothes immediately when you come inside (make sure to toss clothes directly in the washer)
- Keep pets out of the bedroom
- Remove candles and other scented items from your home
- Wash your hair at night before going to bed to remove trapped pollen
- Wash bedding at least once a week in hot water
- Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help remove bacteria and germs from the air
- Vacuum at least once a week and make sure to disinfect and dust surfaces daily
If you’re dealing with poor indoor or outdoor air quality and you’re having trouble getting your allergies under control, an asthma and allergy specialist is going to be the first doctor you should turn to for care. Call an allergist today.