Flowers are blooming, grass is growing, pollen is coming off of trees: ‘tis the season for the stuffy nose, watery eyes, and sneezing fits.

It’s impossible to escape nature during the spring. And with all the beautiful weather, who would want to? But allergies can wreak havoc on our bodies — and our children’s bodies — causing watery eyes, headaches, and rashes. Taking a few preventative measures during the blooming season may help a bad thing from becoming worse.

First, a few definitions (all from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary):

  • Pollen: a mass of mold spores on a seed plant appearing usually as a fine dust.
  • Allergen: a substance that produces an allergic reaction.
  • Hay fever: an acute allergic reaction to pollen that is usually season and is marked by sneezing, nasal discharge and congestion, and itching and watering of the eyes.
  • Ragweed (usually a fall problem): any of the chiefly North American weedy composite herbs that produce highly allergenic pollen.

Here are a few measures to try and keep the allergic reactions to a minimum.

1. Give baths/take showers in the evening. If you have children who suffer from allergies, the whole family can do get involved. Wash hair and body of outdoor allergens: fresh-mowed grass, pollen, and dirt. This routine also keeps the bed sheets cleaner.

2. Have an outdoor set of clothes. Don’t add to your large laundry pile by washing your child’s outdoor clothes every day. Instead, keep a set of clothes in the garage. Just a simple t-shirt and shorts, pants, or jeans for easy changing can be worn a few times before tossing in the machine.

3. Keep doors and windows closed when pollen starts coming off trees. The yellow/green powder that comes off of trees in the springtime sticks to porches, decks, and windows. If your house is open, it’s invited right inside through the screens to land on furniture and floors. If you like an open house during good weather, wait until this process is over.

4. Keep outdoor toys, outdoors. Keeping the two separate, especially this time of year can help keep the pollen that rests on toys out where it belongs.

5. Keep the house closed up when the neighbors are mowing.

6. Try non-medicinal nasal washes to clear irritants from nasal passages.

7. Wash away. If you live in an area where the pollen is thick, clean off porches and decks with a hose or power washer toward the end of the springtime. Don’t forget the door mats.

More resources:

Springtime Allergies: Nip Them In The Bud

Parents Allergy Guide: Allergy Symptoms and Treatments is a great allergy resource with explanations of allergies, allergy news, and pollen count forecasts in every part of the country.