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Coping With Pollen Allergies

Updated on April 12, 2014

Spring, lovely spring. Those of you who live in colder climes are probably singing this song as the days grow longer and warmer, and trees and grasses begin to bud and bloom. But unfortunately, some of those trees may produce the pollen that many allergy sufferers dread. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of adults diagnosed with allergic rhinitis or hay fever as 17.6 million. According to experts, more pollen is expected this year as trees and shrubs thrive as a result of all the rain and snow we have been having.

How to know if you have an allergy

When pollen comes into contact with nasal passages, it produces sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and coughing. Some people may even experience sinus pressure, scratchy nose and throat. Dark circles may develop under the eyes as a result of vein congestion in the face.

Pollen allergies have also been linked to poor sleep, fatigue, poor concentration and depression. Pollen allergies can also trigger an asthma attack, which can be dangerous.

Do you suffer from pollen allergies? If yes, what treatment(s) do you use?

See results

What you can do – keep away

You may not be able to avoid pollen contact altogether, but you can take steps to minimize it. This means avoiding those areas, as far as possible, where pollen-bearing trees and/or grasses are found. In the spring and summer, pollen count is usually highest in the evening. Time your outdoor activities accordingly and wear a face mask to filter out pollen if you must do yard work. Keep doors and windows closed and keep fans and air-conditioner running. This is especially crucial for asthma sufferers.

Some treatment methods

  • Avoid pollen where possible
  • Take over the counter medications
  • See your physician or allergist
  • Keep fans, air-condition filters and purifiers clean
  • Try natural remedies

What you can do - clear the air

Be careful to keep fans clean and change A/C filters once a month. You may purchase electrostatic filters which create a static charge to capture allergens. However, these too must be cleaned frequently to maintain their efficiency. The same goes for a humidifier, if you use one to reduce humidity in your home.

Air purifiers are another option to rid the air of pollen allergens. Air purifiers range from small desktop units to large floor models that cover up to 1100 square feet. If you choose to go this route, make sure the one you buy meets the strict requirements for HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) for large and small particles. Be aware that the allergens must only be around in limited quantities so as not to overwhelm the appliance. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, the air purifier will not get rid of allergens like dust mites which do not stay airborne. http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/allergies/indoor-allergies/air-purifier-help-allergies.htm

Other things you can do


1. Try OTC medications

Many over –the- counter medications are available in the form of pills and sprays. Among the most common are Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra.Some people have found that taking these as preventative measures, before your allergy starts, can help to keep away or minimize an attack.

2. Take a shot

Some allergy sufferers say that OTC meds become ineffective after a while as the body gets used to them. Such people may find better relief from allergy shots. Injections are given over a period of three to five years, and the doses are gradually increased so the body builds up immunity to the allergens.

3. Go natural

If you are wary of taking medications to relieve your allergies, you may wish to try natural remedies. Irrigating your nose with a saline solution may help relieve stuffiness. You may purchase ready-made saline from your pharmacy, or you can make your own by mixing a teaspoon of salt in a pint of warm, distilled water and adding a pinch of baking soda.


Try herbal supplements

Name of herbs
What is it
Benefits
Precautions
Bromelain
Enzyme in pineapple
Makes breathing easier
May cause allergic reactions with some foods (Web MD)
Butterbur
Extract from butterbur root
Prevents hay fever symptomswithout drowsiness
Use only PA-free butterbur as other products may damage the liver, lungs and cause cancer
Calendula
Flower; eye wash
Treats itchy eyes
May cause allergy to ragweed and other plants
Chamomile
Ingredient in herbal tea
Relieves hay fever symptoms
Generally safe but don't use if you are allergic to ragweed and related plants (WebMd)
Ginger tea
Beverage
Breaks up chest congestion and loosens phlegm
May cause miscarriage in 12th week of pregnancy (Medline)
Green tea
Beverage
Blocks histamine. Builds the immune system
Generally safe in moderate doses. More than 5 cups per day can be harmful (Medline)
Phleum pratense
Sublingual tablet
Reduces eye irritation and hay fever symptoms
May cause itching of the mouth and nose, blisters in the mouth, runny nose(WebMd)
Quercetin
Plant pigment
Blocks histamine, prevents hay fever symptoms
Large doses may cause kidney damage. Safe in short-term use (WebMd)

How to recognize pollen allergy symptoms

ginger root
ginger root
chamomile flower
chamomile flower

So remember, if you suffer from pollen allergy, minimize contact with pollen allergens as far as possible and use one or more of the methods above to treat your condition. In addition, be sure to drink lots of water and maintain a healthy diet. The information given here is by no means intended to be medical advice. If you suffer from any form of allergy, see your physician or an allergist who will determine the best course of treatment for you.

Comments

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    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi Beth, that seems the best way to avoid coming into contact with pollen. Autumn, or fall as we say in the US, used to be my favorite season when I lived in the north. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

      Beth Eaglescliffe 

      4 years ago from UK

      You give really useful advice in this article. In the summer, when the pollen count is high, I mow the lawn before breakfast and then retire to a darkened room for the rest of the day. I can't wait for Autumn to arrive!

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much, yourhealthmatters, for stopping by. I hope you are not affected too much by the allergies this season. I am coping with the help of ginger.

    • profile image

      yourhealthmatters 

      4 years ago

      This was an excellent overview on seasonal allergies, which I'm sure are headed to my area, the mid-west, very soon! I appreciate the reference to the herbal supplements, as many allergy sufferers do not get relief from the OTC medications. Voted up and useful!

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks tobusiness. You're right, seasonal allergies really seem to be increasing.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Excellent article, the incidence of seasonal allergies seems to be increasing, you've provided some very useful information. Well done.

    • quildon profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, Faith Reaper. I never suffered from allergies until recently. I wake up in the middle of the night with my nose running. That's what made me do the research and write this hub. What you said about removing your clothing and showering before going to bed is also great advice. It's raining now where I am so hopefully that will wash away some of the pollen. Thanks for the comment.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Great hub to cover all the wonderful remedies to help with seasonal pollen allergies. The pollen gets so bad here, especially now when everything is starting to bloom, one sees yellow covering everything. Zyrtec seems to work well with me, but I prefer natural remedies. Ginger root is excellent as well as the others you have highlighted here. After working outside in the garden, I am sure to remove my clothing and put it in the wash and make sure not to lie down on any bedding before bathing as the pollen gets into one's hair and on one's body too and then transfers to one's bedding and sofas, jus everywhere. So, it is best to jump into the shower after coming in from being outside extensively.

      Up and more, tweeting and pinning

      Blessings

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