About 35 million Americans are sensitive to pollen, according to National Institutes of Health estimates. Triggers vary, and symptoms can be caused by exposure to trees, grass and other weeds. Although there is not much you can do to avoid pollen altogether, there are still ways to make pollen allergies more endurable.
Here are 5 tips for surviving the seasonal allergies:
- Be aware of cross-reactivity
During your seasonal allergies, you may experience reacting to new things. Especially fresh fruits and raw vegetables have a tendency to give you an itchy throat. These types of symptoms during the pollen season are often called food-pollen allergy syndrome, or oral allergy syndrome. The symptoms may include itching of the lips, the inside or roof of the mouth, and the back of the throat.
As to why this is happening, evidence suggest that the immune system mistakes a plant protein in the fruit, vegetable, nut or seed for pollen – which triggers what specialists call a cross-reaction. Only fresh or raw food cause this reaction, which suggests that cooking or heating destroys the allergenic proteins in the food. The symptoms should not to be mistaken for food allergies.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high
The best way to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergy is too avoid pollen emissions as much as you can. Therefore, you should stay inside when the pollen counts are high. When the temperature rises inside your house in the summer heat, you might also be tempted to open all windows and doors. But be aware: Pollen emissions are at their worst during the day and early afternoon.
You should also be aware that on days when the weather is extra nice, the pollen emissions will last until the late evening. If you need to air out your house, you should do this during the night. The best advice however is to keep open windows to a minimum. It will always let inn pollen emissions. The same goes for your car.
- Protect yourself with a mask
You can minimize your exposure to pollutants and other allergens by wearing a mask while outside. The mask covers your mouth and nose, and filtrates the air you breathe in. Using proper filters in your car or your air conditioner will also help reduce the pollen emissions you inhale. It might not be suitable in all social situations, but a mask is perfect for gardening time or in the privacy of your own home.
- Use medications according to your doctor’s advice
Allergy medicine is a good relief, and helps you cope throughout the allergy season. Over-the-counter medicine, such as cetirizine and fexofenadine, can help your allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion and coughing.
You should always get an evaluation from your doctor to find the best treatment for your situation. Other remedies that your doctor might suggest are antihistamine, other allergy pills, inhaled allergy treatments, or even allergy shots. You should also be aware of overusing nasal sprays. Using decongestant sprays for more than three days in a row, can lead to a so-called “rebound” effect – making your allergy symptoms worse than they originally were.
- Tell the people around you
If you are struggling with pollen allergies you should tell the people around you. Spread awareness to your family, employer and friends so that they can take the allergy into account and help facilitate the situation.
Now, with all this in mind: Have an allergy-friendly summer and autumn!