Millions of people in the United States suffer from a pollen allergy. People who have pollen allergies are also said to have seasonal allergies or hayfever. Many pollen allergy symptoms resemble symptoms of the common cold.
Pollen is released by plants and flowers as a way of reproducing, but most of it never reaches another plant. Of course, as the wind carries pollen on its journey, humans breathe in large quantities of it.
People with pollen allergies suffer when pollen counts (how many particles are present in the air) are moderate to high. Pollen levels are generally highest on warm, dry days in the early morning and lowest in cool, damp weather.
Pollen counts are available for different types of pollen, such as ragweed, grass and tree, because some people are affected by only certain types. Pollen allergies and symptoms differ from person to person.
Pollen Allergy Symptoms
Pollen allergy symptoms often resemble those of a upper respiratory infection or summer cold and include;
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Nasal congestion
• Allergic shiners
When symptoms last longer than a cold and/or are not accompanied by the usual sluggish feeling, it is time to consider the possibility of pollen allergies.
What to Do About Pollen Allergies
Short of staying inside for the duration of allergy season or moving to an area where the offending plants don’t grow, there is nothing that can be done to avoid a pollen allergy. In order to treat pollen allergies, it is necessary to know exactly which plants one is allergic to.
To determine the specific allergy one suffers, it is necessary to consult an allergist. They will usually do a skin test for pollen allergies. The physician makes a tiny punctures in the skin and rubs a small amount of each allergen on separate punctures. A raised red area indicates an allergy.
Once the specific pollen allergy is figured out, the doctor will work with the patient to try to avoid an allergic reaction. They may recommend or prescribe a medication that helps minimize pollen allergies. Mild antihistamines and decongestants are a good starting point. Decongestant sprays cause further irritation, however, and need to be avoided.
HEPA filters in an air purifier work indoors to reduce allergens, but care should be taken that it does not use ozone which can irritate air passages and exacerbate asthma. The house should be clean and dust-free.
If none of the above approaches work to control pollen allergy symptoms, allergy shots may be helpful. The allergen is given to the patient in small doses to increase tolerance levels. This treatment happens over time and becomes effective gradually.
Even though it can be discouraging to have pollen allergies, there are things that can be done to manage and control them. There are a range of different products and medicines and just as everyone’s allergies are different, their effective treatments will be, too.
Always consult with your doctor or a certified professional trainer before undertaking any exercises, treatments, or dietary supplements.