Warmer days with extra daylight hours may have you itching to get outside, literally. From allergens to insects the outdoors may have you scratching instead of basking in the sunlight. Before you ban yourself from enjoying the splendors of spring and summer let’s get savvy on keeping you safe and healthy.
First and foremost, if you are dealing with allergies or allergic reactions such as breathing issues, skin irritations, or anything in that realm, you should reach out to your healthcare provider so they can best help you determine your culprits and action plan. Some people are able to take over the counter medications and carry on with few hassles. Others may require prescription medications, ointments, or remedies that can help them also still enjoy their spring al fresco. Don’t just settle for staying inside, get out to see your healthcare provider and let them know your symptoms as well as what your goals are for being outside. If you love to garden and landscape let them know, or if you really just want to be able to run or walk without extended periods of time outside, let them know that too!
When it comes to insects, your patience can really be tested. Everyone has their own bug sprays, essential oils and solutions that they proclaim to work for them, but you need to find out what works for you. There are so many varieties of bug sprays from ones with heavy duty chemicals to greener products made from organic ingredients. You can also take a stab and try to make your own. Mixing distilled water, witch hazel and essential oils like citronella, tea tree and lavender seems to be a popular ingredient list online. You can also help distract yourself from bugs by also not wearing fruity or floral scents.
Keeping yourself properly covered can be really useful for making your time outside more pleasant. In general, wearing tall white or light-colored socks can help prevent ticks on the skin and being able to spot them. Better yet, wear pants you can tuck into your socks. Obviously pants and longer sleeved shirts will give you less skin exposure for allergens and insects. Always wear gloves while gardening and working outdoors, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your skin or eyes.
Washing up after outdoor activities is important as well. Take a shower and wash your clothes after being outside so you aren’t carrying around any irritants with you. If pollen bothers you and your hair is filled with it, then a good shower with some shampoo can help you carry on the rest of the day without carrying on about your allergies. If you wear garden clogs that can be washed after use go for it, if you are wearing sneakers or hiking boots that can’t be so easily laundered, take them off before entering the house. If you have an outdoor pet they may also be tracking in allergens! They may need a good scrub down in high pollen season. (Don’t forget to check them over for ticks too!) Make sure to wash all items that come in from the garden as well! Tomatoes, cucumbers and all that up and coming produce should get washed well before it hits your plate!
If you love to get outside for fun, fitness and family events you can’t let the season stop you. Think about what you are putting on your body and how you are cleaning up after activities to make it more pleasant. Try to go for your hikes, bike rides and leisurely walks in the morning before the temperature rises and insects swirl. There are many apps that can help you keep track of pollen and allergy counts in our area. But do not discount a visit to your healthcare provider or allergist to talk about what might be the best action plan for you. Being outside is great for your health and happiness if you can do it without suffering. Find your best way to get outside in the healthiest fashion, because it’s too nice out to stay indoors.
Mary Hoadley-Director Of The Wellness Center