While springtime is beautiful, it can cause problems for people who suffer from hay fever or pollen allergies. Plants and trees release pollen during springtime to initiate the reproductive process with other plants and trees. Pollen can be carried by the wind for several miles. According to Pollen.com, “Allergic Rhinitis (commonly called hay fever) is a reaction caused by inhaling airborne particles, such as pollen. Out of the more than 67 million Americans who suffer from allergies, 24-40 million suffer from an airborne allergy, such as hay fever.
Symptoms of a pollen allergy include: sneezing, congestion, nasal discharge, itchy or watery eyes, itchy nose or throat. Visit a doctor in order to determine whether hay fever is causing the symptoms. Doctors can recommend over-the-counter antihistamines or prescribe a stronger allergy medicine.
There are also several ways to limit exposure to pollen. Try limiting the amount of time spent outdoors during peak pollen times. The pollen count is highest during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so experts recommend limiting time spent outdoors during this timeframe.
Visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s website (http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx) to find out what the pollen count will be in a particular area each day. The daily pollen forecasts are calculated by time of day, temperature, rainfall, and weather forecast. Although pollen forecasts are not foolproof, it’s a helpful tool to help gauge the daily pollen count.
WebMD.com recommends, “Avoid drying clothes on a clothesline. Take off shoes before going inside to avoid tracking pollen indoors.” Keep windows and doors shut, and rely on air conditioning instead. While limiting time spent outdoors during peak pollen hours will reduce exposure, it’s also important to limit indoor pollen exposure. Here are a few ways to do that:
• Keep pets outdoors during allergy season since they would track pollen inside.
• Change clothes after arriving home each day. Take a shower to remove pollen.
• Get a high-quality air filter. Air filters can remove up to 95% of pollen from indoor air.
• Vacuum and dust regularly to reduce the amount of indoor pollen.
By following these simple steps, individuals can limit their exposure to pollen and make springtime a much more enjoyable season.