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5 Tips to Enjoy Picnics with Allergies and Asthma

August 17, 2016 | By Augusta Health Pulmonology Team
Published in: Pulmonology

kebabs on the grill for a summer picnic

It's the time of year when the weather starts to warm up, we stop hibernating and we start planning outdoor activities. We roll out the lawn mowers to clean up our yards, clean off our decks and patios for get-togethers and clean our grills to prepare for outdoor picnics. Unfortunately, the warmer temperatures also bring tree, grass and weed pollen, which can make picnics less fun. If you suffer from allergies, asthma, or just want tips on how to make the picnic season more enjoyable, we've got 5 great tips for you.

1. Clean the Air

Even though you can't control the outdoor air quality, there are many steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality. Your exposure and severity of allergy and asthma symptoms begins with limiting your indoor exposure. Try improving your indoor air quality by vacuuming regularly (furniture too!), using a dehumidifier, an indoor air purifier, and consider using a HEPA filter on your vacuum.

The less allergens and triggers you're exposed to, the less your body will react.

2. Cleaning 101

Carpet fibers can trap allergens like pollen, dust and mold spores. If you suffer from allergies, a hard-surface flooring is always easier to reduce your allergen exposure.

When dusting, use a damp cloth instead of a dry cloth so the particles don't just spread into the air. Always empty your vacuum bag or canister outside so the particles don't float around inside your home.

runner at sunset

3. Exercise Smarter

The pollen count is at its highest point after dawn and at night. If you're planning to exercise outdoors the best times are before dawn, the late afternoon and early evening. This is when pollen counts are lowest and will trigger your reactions the least. When pollen counts are really high, consider an indoor exercise activity.

4. Gardening for Smarties

As the weather warms up, our grass and flowers (and weeds) all start to grow, which means mowing, gardening and weeding. To reduce exposure, wear gloves while gardening and consider wearing a filter mask. Once you're done, remove clothes and shower to wash allergens off your body. Also, launder your clothes immediately to wash away contact allergens.

5. Outdoor Landscapingflowers in a field

Many plants can increase your allergy and asthma symptoms. When planting trees, flowers and shrubs in your yard consider how attractive they are to bugs and bees (who carry pollen) and how close they are to outdoor seating areas like decks and patios. Consult a local landscape or garden-specialist for help with plants in your area.

Following these tips can help make your picnic season more enjoyable. However, some people will still need further help to manage their symptoms and reactions. The Augusta Health Pulmonology team offers many options to help you learn more and improve your asthma symptoms. To schedule an appointment and discuss your options, call (540) 245-7190.