What are the environmental control measures for outdoor allergens that cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever)?

Updated: May 18, 2018
  • Author: Javed Sheikh, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Because of their widespread presence in the outdoor air, pollens can be difficult to avoid. Reduction of outdoor exposure during the season in which a particular type of pollen is present can be somewhat helpful. In general, tree pollens are present in the spring, grass pollens from the late spring through summer, and weed pollens from late summer through fall, but exceptions to these seasonal patterns exist (see Causes).

Pollen counts tend to be higher on dry, sunny, windy days. Outdoor exposure can be limited during this time, but this may not be reliable because pollen counts can also be influenced by a number of other factors. Keeping the windows and doors of the house and car closed as much as possible during the pollen season (with air conditioning, if necessary, on recirculating mode) can be helpful. Taking a shower after outdoor exposure can be helpful by removing pollen that is stuck to the hair and skin.

Despite all of these measures, patients who are allergic to pollens usually continue to be symptomatic during the pollen season and usually require some other form of management. As with pollens, avoidance of outdoor/seasonal molds may be difficult.


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