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Wash Away Allergies

Rain can provide temporary hay fever relief

SATURDAY, May 15, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- When pollen counts are high and you're having an especially bad hay fever day, you can always look to the sky for help.

Don't look for religious intervention or aliens. However, if the heavens open with a good rainfall you will get temporary relief.

That's because rain washes pollen out of the air for a short time, preventing the pollen from floating around and finding its way to your nose and eyes. And some plants stop pollinating in damp weather, says the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

However, the rain may be a bit of double-edged sword for people with pollen allergies. While it can offer a momentary respite from the sneezing and wheezing, damp weather can also encourage the growth of allergy-causing mold and mildew.

Also, rain can be followed by a burst of plant blooming and pollinating.

Rainy weather or not, there are things you can do to avoid pollen exposure and reduce your hay fever symptoms:

  • Stay indoors in the morning when outdoor pollen counts are highest.
  • If you have to go outside, wear a face mask designed to filter out pollen.
  • Keep your home's windows closed and drive your car with the windows up. Use air conditioning at home and in your car.
  • Don't dry your clothes outside. They'll collect pollen.
  • Avoid other irritants such as insect sprays, tobacco smoke, air pollution and fresh tar or paint.
  • If possible, don't mow the grass or do other yard work.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about hay fever.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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