Pollen Season is Here
Warm weather and that yellow haze in the air can mean only one thing to allergy suffers…pollen season is here, so get your tissues ready.
As we try to figure out the specific triggers for our allergies, experts say seasonal allergies are caused by three main types of pollen which occur at three distinct times of the year. They include
- Tree pollen – March – June
- Grass pollen – June – August (warm weather can cause it to last until September)
- Weed pollen – August to October (a hard freeze will kill off weed pollen)
November to February is the time of year when most seasonal allergy suffers can usually find relief, but some outdoor mold molds peak during the winter, which may cause continued suffering. Rainwater helps wash away pollen, but it brings only temporary relief because plants that produce pollen also enjoy the rain as it helps them pollinate.
In addition, experts says that the COVID 19 virus adds a level of complexity because some of its symptoms are similar to allergy suffers such as congestion, stuffy nose, feeling unwell and loss of sense of smell, among other things. Suffers may not be able to tell what is actually ailing them unless seen by a doctor.
Here are 10 suggestions experts suggest will help you cope with pollen season:
1. Stay inside if it’s windy and warm.
Pollen counts tend to rise on dry, warm, and windy days, so if it’s breezy outside, try to stay indoors.
2. Go outside at the right times.
Pollen counts are highest in the morning and again at night, so if you need to go outside, try to do it when counts are low.
3. Know which pollen you’re allergic to, and respond accordingly.
When it comes to seasonal allergies, it’s important to know exactly what you’re allergic to so you can take appropriate action.
If you don’t know what you’re allergic to, it’s hard to limit exposure.
4. Start your medication regimen early.
If you know you experience allergies each year, start your allergy regimen about a month before your specific allergy season starts. That way any medication has a chance to get into your system and start working before the season starts.
5. Close windows and doors.
When you suffer from allergies, you just might be opening Pandora’s box if you leave a window or door open. Instead turn on the air conditioner to keep the pollen out and the temperature cool in your home.
6. Keep your home clear of dust and allergens.
Dust contains pollen and other irritants that can trigger your allergies. In addition, cigarette, cigar, and other types of smoke – including fumes from a wood-burning stove – make allergy symptoms worse, so steer clear of these irritants to help keep your allergies at bay.
7. Shower at night.
Because pollen can stick to your clothes, skin, and hair, it’s important to shower each night to remove any irritants. Remember to also remove and wash any clothing that was exposed to the pollen. You’ll sleep better at night if the pollen doesn’t have a chance of getting into your bed.
8. Pre-medicate with an antihistamine or put on a pollen mask before you go outside.
Take an antihistamine before you go outside to mow the lawn, rake leaves, play with your kids, and other activities that result in pollen exposure. Wearing a pollen mask is also an easy way to reduce exposure to irritants.
9. Manage pet dander.
If you’re allergic to pets, don’t get one. If you have a pet, at the very least, keep them out of your bedroom and off of your bed. And even if you’re not allergic to pets, they can carry pollen on their fur, brush their hair frequently, wash your hands after touching them, and never rub your eyes after petting them. Vacuuming your house at least once per week can also do wonders to keep pet dander at bay.
10. Beware of mold.
Some people can have a mold-specific allergy – both indoor and outdoor mold. One way to lessen mold in your home is to wipe away any standing water in the bathroom and shower area. Using a ventilation fan when you take a shower also helps to reduce the chance of mold. If you have a mold allergy, exercise caution when you use a humidifier. Aim to keep the humidity level in your home below 60 percent. Anything higher can cause mold to grow in your home.
Always know when to seek medical help. If you’re unresponsive to over-the-counter allergy medication or if your allergies cause you to cough or wheeze, you could suffer from more than allergies – which means it’s time to see a doctor. Allergies can turn into asthma or an upper-respiratory illness such as bronchitis or a sinus infection, so it’s important to see an allergist who can assess your symptoms and develop a tailored treatment plan, which includes testing you for food allergies, asthma, and other conditions.