I've been miserable with the allergies for about a week now. And I definitely knew it was coming. Recent news reports only confirm why.
Here in the Bay Area we had an unusually long and consistent rainy season. It rained something like 25 days in March. It rained pretty consistently for the first 10 days in April. While actual rainy days are pretty good for allergy sufferers, the aftermath is not.
I always thought that was obviously because a lot of rain means a lot of growth. But there's a little more to it than that. This article in the Contra Costa Times explains another reason:
The bad news is that the grass is coming on. And the worse news yet is that the rains lingered so far into spring that they shortened the season, and while that sounds like good news, it really isn't. While the time frame is abbreviated, the overall pollen amount is the about same.
So that explains why out of nowhere I started getting just sl-ammed with allergies.
Another explanation is that the Bay Area just isn't a great place to be for allergy sufferers:
The Bay Area is particularly rich in pollens that aggravate allergies. Both San Francisco and Sacramento were named as "Allergy Capitals" in a survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
I've been taking daily (generic) Claritin for a few years now, and was becoming convinced that it wasn't too effective anymore. Until I ran out a few days ago and neglected to get to the store to buy more. So sure, the difference is between bad and worse, but I'll take the merely bad. After just a few days without my daily dose my nose is almost completely congested, and I find myself itching all over. (I've always found that one of my worst allergy symptoms...when I start to itch inside my throat, inside my ears, my eyes...drives me crazy.)
Trolling about the InterWebs I found this list of tips from the AAAAI (American Academy of Alelrgy, Asthma and Immunology, including some helpful tidbits. Fund out more int he extended entry...
Here are those tips from the AAAAI:
- Do a thorough spring cleaning - windows, book shelves and air conditioning vents collected dust and mold throughout the winter that can provoke allergy symptoms
- Postpone outdoor activities until later in the morning. Pollens are usually emitted between the hours from 5 am - 10 am
- Know your local pollen count by visiting the National Allergy Bureau Web site
- If possible use air conditioning instead of having windows opened
- When traveling in a car have the windows up and the air conditioning on
- Stay indoors on hot, dry and windy days
- Don't hang your laundry out to dry. Allergens will collect on them
- Do not mow the lawn or rake the leaves without a filter mask
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water
- Shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed
- Remove visible mold with non-toxic cleaning products
- Beware of high mold spore counts after a heavy rain or in the evening
Disappointed as I am to bid farewell to my 5AM jogs (kidding, kidding) I find I do some of this stuff already. Definitely rely on A/C in both home and car vs. open windows (mama didn't raise no fool.) Definitely use a dryer, not a clothes line.
I am a morning shower person, though, so that's a new and different idea to shower and wash my hair at night. I also don't wash my hair every day because it's dry...I wonder if just rinsing is good enough? And I wash our bedding once every two weeks in warm water. Clearly I'm a linen slacker.
It is always dry here in the Bay Area once the rain stops, and it is often breezy. One of my big goals for this year was to return to a more regular exercise regimen, and the truth is I am most consistent about walking/hiking outdoors because I arrange to meet friends to do it, and therefore I follow through. But at this time of year each hike is followed by 48 hours of watery eyes and violent sneezing.
Of course I'm well aware I shouldn't let my cat sleep on my pillow either, but I think we've already established I'm a slave to the cat...she's the real head of the household :)