(NC) With spring right around the corner, allergy sufferers know that symptoms can start anytime soon — often without warning. One allergen you’ll want to steer clear of this season is pollen.

Pollen grains are invisible particles given off by trees, grass, flowers and certain weeds. Wind-pollenated plants are of most concern to people with asthma and allergies since the pollen is easily breathed into the nose and lungs. Different types surface during certain periods in the year — tree pollen in spring, grass pollen in early summer, and ragweed in August until the first frost.

Increased pollen levels are found where trees, grasses, flowers and weeds grow. There will be higher levels on dry, sunny and windy days. Pollen is found outdoors, but can also be carried indoors through windows and doors and on clothing.

Since being around pollen is unavoidable, here are some tips to help reduce your exposure:

• Keep windows closed in the home and car, using an air conditioner if needed to clean, cool and dry the air.

• Some people may need to avoid going outside when the levels are high. Check local pollen reports to find out when you’re most at risk.

• Limit outdoor activities on days with high pollution levels since air pollution can increase the negative health effects of pollen. Check your local air quality health index.

• If possible, people allergic to pollen should not cut the lawn.

• If you’ve been outside during peak pollen season, take a shower and change into fresh clothes.

Find more information online at on.lung.ca.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.