It’s spring – here’s the pollen, ticks and lead
Published: 05/14/2021 20:51:37
Spring has arrived in New Hampshire. More sun and higher temperatures mean flowering trees, fragrant flowers, and more people outside. Spring also marks the annual arrival of some irritating and potentially dangerous environmental hazards – pollen, ticks and lead exposure. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the effects of all three.
Pollen from trees, plants, flowers and herbs causes symptoms ranging from itchy eyes to widespread asthma attacks. To minimize unwanted effects first, know the pollen count in your area and limit your outdoor activity on high pollen days. Also, keep your windows closed to keep pollen out. Most pollen is produced between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Plan your time outdoors accordingly. The masks we wear have the additional purpose of protecting us from pollen. After the time outdoors, change your clothes and take a shower to rid your body of as much pollen as possible. Finally, treat your symptoms with prescription or over-the-counter medication, preferably before going out.
The next enemy is ticks. It is estimated that 75% of all cases of Lyme disease come from ticks picked up during activities around the home. The best way to protect yourself and your family from ticks is to: keep them from getting on your body, inspect yourself, your children and your pets for ticks after you have been there outside and remove any ticks you find.
Wearing anti-tick clothing, tucking long pants into socks, having long sleeves, using bug spray, and staying in the center of paths, is the best way for people to avoid tick bites when they venture out. outside. Take a shower shortly after you are outside. Showering within two hours of getting indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of Lyme disease. Showering can help remove unattached ticks and this is a good opportunity to do a tick check. Don’t forget to check out the animals while you’re at it. Pets can be a major source of allowing ticks into the home, as well as carrying pollen indoors. Bathe animals more frequently in hot weather. If you find a tick, remove it immediately. If the insect is encrusted, use tweezers to remove it. Visit tickfreenh.org to learn more about tick prevention and elimination.
Lead poisoning is a silent enemy, especially when warmer temperatures lead to windows being opened and closed more frequently. Friction when opening windows and doors can cause lead dust to stir, especially in homes built before 1978. Vinyl mini blinds are also a source of lead dust. Exposure to lead dust is very harmful and dangerous for children 6 years of age and under. Young children spend a lot of time on the ground where dust collects and they tend to put things in their mouths. A lead dust particle smaller than a single grain of sugar can have devastating effects on children’s health. Lead poisoning can limit a child’s intellectual and physical development. Research shows a correlation between lead exposure and behavioral problems that have been linked to higher incarceration rates later in life. Steps you can take to limit lead exposure include checking the lead levels in your home, especially if it was built before 1978; repaint surfaces with lead-free paint; wash toys and pacifiers frequently; encourage routine hand washing; and provide healthy nutrition to the child. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/clpp/index.htm.