Beautiful spring flowers and bright green leaves are a welcome addition to the gray winter. But for some people, pollen from fresh flowers causes watery eyes, runny nose, and runny nose. These signs can take all the fun out of the warm weather. If you’re wondering how to get rid of pollen allergies, you’re not alone.
What is pollen?
Pollen is made up of millions of tiny seeds that flower plants, trees and grasses release at the beginning of their growing season – which is early spring for most plants. The green dust that appears on your car in the spring is pollen carried by the wind. What gets in your car also gets into your nose and lungs, causing stuffy or runny nose, stuffy and itchy, watery eyes. For some people, breathing in pollen can trigger an asthma attack (when the air is narrowed), which makes it difficult to breathe.
Sometimes you can tell which plant or tree is not sick by the timing of the symptoms. Trees are usually in full bloom in early spring, when birch, elm, oak and maple trees begin to bloom. Weed disease usually occurs in the late spring and summer, when grass grows most rapidly. Fall allergies can be triggered by ragweed pollen. Doctors can also perform allergy tests to determine what may be causing your symptoms.
If you think your spring fever is starting earlier than usual, or if you’re suddenly experiencing allergy symptoms for the first time, it’s not your imagination. Research shows that hot weather with few days and frost it affects when flowers produce pollen and the amount of air. This means that even if pollen didn’t bother you in the past, high concentrations and long-term exposure can cause symptoms now.
How to avoid pollen allergies
Although you cannot completely prevent the symptoms of pollen allergy, there are several steps you can take to prevent and reduce your symptoms.
- Check your local pollen forecast. Many weather programs and local news outlets report when the pollen count is high. Keep windows closed and avoid spending time outdoors during high pollen counts. Pollen is usually at its peak during the day.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your home to eliminate allergens. Change the filters on your heating/air conditioning system often, especially during periods of high pollen counts.
- Avoid outdoor activities – especially gardening and mowing – that expose you to a lot of pollen. If you want to work in the yard, plan these jobs in the morning, afternoon or evening, when the pollen may be lower. Wearing a mask during this time can also help prevent pollen symptoms.
- Change and wash your clothes after outdoor activities and change your sheets every few days to reduce exposure to outdoor pollen.
- Be aware that pets that go outside can get pollen in their fur. Washing them or washing them as soon as you go can help reduce the amount of pollen they carry into your home.
- Talk to your doctor about allergy medicine and other medicines which can help prevent or reduce symptoms. Although antihistamines may cause drowsiness or other side effects, some newer medications are more effective and have fewer side effects. If you decide to take medicine, make sure you read the label carefully and follow the instructions.
How to get rid of pollen allergies
If you develop sneezing, coughing or other symptoms due to pollen, there are several medications or treatments you may need to relieve your symptoms.
For less congestion, try rinsing your nasal passages with saline to remove mucus and pollen from your nose and reduce symptoms. You can buy a ready-made saline solution at the drugstore, or you can make your own.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays
Corticosteroid nasal sprays are available over the counter or by prescription. They are safe and effective for most adults and children. A spray or spray in each nostril once a day can prevent allergy symptoms. However, it may take a few days or two weeks or more before you notice a change.
Several new types of antihistamines are available over the counter. They are often the best short-term solution for peripheral or nasal corticosteroid sprays. Ask your doctor what would be best to try first.
Decongestants can help with allergies. It is available in oral or nasal spray form. However, do not use the nasal spray for more than two or three days. Prolonged use can cause more confusion when you stop.
Immunotherapy, also known as immunotherapy, can also help eliminate pollen. Treatment includes regular injections of small allergens which helps your body make the antibodies it needs to fight allergies. This usually means weekly shots for a few years, but most people see improvement in symptoms after three to six months.
Climate change does not mean suffering. Learning how to relieve the pain of pollen, or manage the symptoms, can help you enjoy the full color and potential of the outdoors.