When the rains first arrive they bring with them pleasant memories of splashing around in muddy puddles, raincoats, umbrellas and gum-boots, and the desire for coffee and a good book. Along with these, they also bring along sniffing, coughing, body ache and boxes upon boxes of tissues.

Allergy spells are all too commonin the monsoon months. A number of people suffer from ear and sinus infections in the rainy months. The wet weather causes low temperatures that weaken our immune system, making us more susceptible to infections. Foreign particles, called allergens, can make contact with and enter your body, thus triggering an allergy attack. When it rains, the temperature goes down. The low temperature makes the air-pipes in your lungs constrict resulting in a bout of coughing and wheezing.

This information might make you wary of stepping out in the rain again but all you need to do is take a few simple precautions to make sure you emerge from the rain disease-free:
•    Firstly, you need to monitor your body’s reactions to the wet weather. If you repeatedly suffer from allergy spells, then it is time to visit the doctor. An allergy test can reveal the source of the allergy which can then be duly avoided. The doctor may be able to prescribe appropriate anti-allergy medication to combat the allergic reaction to the rain
•    In the rainy months, steer clear from gardens and the like as far as possible. Gardens and parks generally have a growth spurt in the monsoon. The air in such areas is rife with pollen that interferes with the respiratory system. If you must enter a garden or park for a prolonged period of time, consider wearing a dust mask
•    Change the hay in your coolers and clean the filters of your air-conditioner regularly to stop the accumulation of dust and allergens
•    If you are particularly susceptible to monsoon allergies, avoid getting wet in the rains. Getting drenched in the first rain of the season can prove dangerous since it brings down all the water-soluble pollutants and toxins from the atmosphere
•    Wear warm clothes to protect you from the cold
•    Dust your house thoroughly and regularly and keep the windows and doors closed. This is especially important if you have a pet. Hairs from the pet’s coat, or dried saliva, or urine, flakes of their skin and yours are breeding grounds for bacteria. Avoid collecting wicker baskets, dried flowers or any objects that might attract allergy-inducing pollen
•    Insects and rodents are carriers of dirt and dust. Cockroaches’ bodies also contain allergens. So get a pest control done to protect yourself
•    Dry your clothes indoor or in an automatic dryer since they can collect allergens and pollen if left outdoors
•    Save outdoor activities for when the sun is shining or immediately after a heavy rain, at which time pollen levels are low

Don’t let a mere allergy prevent you from enjoying the wonders of the rains. Take these precautions and make the rain seem like the boon it is, rather than a curse.