Allergies
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Allergy

Pollen Allergy

Pollen is in the air everywhere around us, indoors as well as outside. The pollen count is especially high during the spring and summer, when large amounts of pollen float through the air to fertilize trees and flowers.

This can cause a lot of trouble for the one in seven, or 35 million, Americans who suffer from pollen allergies. It causes them to suffer symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and watery eyes.

There are treatments to reduce these symptoms from pollen allergies, such as nasal sprays and antihistamines. It also helps to avoid pollen as much as possible.

Pollen Count

The pollen count for a day is the total amount of pollen in the air. The pollen levels are highest in the early morning, usually between 5am and 10am.

The pollen count is also higher during dry weather and during the spring and summer.

Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Pollen allergies lead to the symptoms of hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis). Hay fever can also be caused by other allergies though, so if you notice that your hay fever is bad all year round, instead of only during pollen seasons, then it could be caused by other things in your home such as mold and dust mites.

The symptoms pollen allergy causes are also similar to colds. You should be able to tell the difference between a cold and pollen allergy depending on the seasons though. Plus a cold usually doesn't last very long.

If you’re allergic to pollen, then any pollen you breathe in will irritate the mucus membranes in your nose and sinuses. This causes your body to release histamine and mucus, which leads to congestion and inflammation. You may then experience symptoms such as:


Pollen Sources

The biggest producers of pollen are trees, weeds and grass. Pollen is the reproductive cells released by these plants.

Pollen Season

The most pollen is released during the spring, summer and fall. Trees release their pollen starting in the spring, whereas grass begin to pollinate during late spring and early summer. Weeds pollinate during late summer and also continue to pollinate through to late fall.

Trees

Most of the pollen in the air comes from trees and ordinary looking plants, rather than from flowers. Pollen allergies from trees are worse during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The trees which most commonly cause people to suffer pollen allergies are:


Grass

There are a small number of grasses which cause people to suffer pollen allergies, especially during late spring and early summer. Some of the species of allergenic grass are:


Weeds

Allergies from weed pollen are usually worst from late summer to early fall. The biggest producer of allergenic pollen is ragweed. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of pollen allergies are caused by ragweed. Weeds which often cause pollen allergies are:


Treatment for Pollen Allergy

The best treatment for pollen allergy is to avoid pollen as much as possible. However pollen is everywhere, even inside your home so you may need to take medications, as well as minimizing contact with pollen.

The medications for pollen allergies are the same as for other allergies, such as antihistamines, bronchodilators and corticosteroids. These are available from the chemist, some by prescription and some over the counter. The medications also come in oral or spray forms. You can also be given allergy shots, or immunotherapy, which will slowly increase your body's tolerance for pollen.

Antihistamine

During an allergic reaction your immune system creates histamine. Taking anthistamines reduces the effects of histamine on your body. Antihistamines can be taken orally or as a spray. Some examples are:


Nasal Corticosteroids or Nasal Sprays

Spraying nasal corticosteroids into your nose helps to relieve a blocked nose, a runny nose, sneezing or other pollen allergy symptoms. You can also get nasal strips which work similarly. The relief from nasal sprays is long lasting and many brands only need to be taken once a day. Some examples of nasal sprays are:


Decongestants

Decongestants can be taken as a nasal spray or orally. They decrease nasal congestion and other allergic reactions so you can breathe easier. Some types of decongestants are:


Immunotherapy - Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, build up your body's resistance to pollen. A doctor or allergist will inject you with very small amounts of allergens. Gradually they will then increase the amount of allergens as your body builds up its immunity. Immunotherapy must be done long term though, often for around three to five years, before it can be stopped.

Tips for Preventing Pollen Allergy

Stay Indoors


Close Your Windows and use HEPA Filters


Wash Often


Pollen Collects on Your Clothes


Avoiding Pollen When Outdoors


Maintaining Your Yard


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