It’s spring! Our gardens are flowering, and every outdoor surface is now covered in yellow pollen. Allergy season hits some people harder than others, but many of us will be suffering through coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. Here’s what you need to know about reducing your pollen allergy this season.
What causes pollen allergies?
- When you have a pollen allergy, your immune system identifies pollen as harmful and essentially overreacts.
- This type of allergy is also called “hay fever.” According to the CDC, over 60 million people are affected in the U.S. every year.
- If your parents have a pollen allergy, you probably will, too.
- The more often you come into contact with the allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction), and the earlier in life this happens, the more likely you’ll be allergic.
Tip #1: Limit your exposure to pollen.
- If you spend time outside, be in areas with low tree coverage and very few flowers. Don’t do activities that stir up pollen, like mowing the lawn.
- Hose off your patio and any outdoor furniture before you spend time outside.
- Now is a great time to change the air filter in your home.
Tip #2: Boost your daily hygiene routine.
- Pollen will stick to your skin, clothes and hair.
- Change and wash your clothes after being outside to remove pollen that might have stuck to you.
- Shower and wash your face and hair before bed to get rid of the pollen that might have stuck to your body.
- Use saline solution spray before bed to wash the pollen out of your nasal passages.
Tip #3: Eat well and stay hydrated.
- The stronger your body is, the better it will protect you against allergies.
- Be sure to eat fruits and veggies during the spring and drink enough water.
- Another tip: eat local honey. If you take small doses of the honey early in the season, you may develop a tolerance toward pollen in your area.
When these tips aren't enough, see your doctor.
- If you have bad seasonal allergies, your doctor may recommend allergy shots.
- This treatment involves regular injections containing tiny amounts of the substances that cause your allergies.
- Over time, these injections reduce the immune system reaction that causes symptoms.