A bad winter can mean a more intense allergy season

As if a severe winter isn’t miserable enough all by itself, its impact can extend into spring.


Posted June 16, 2015

A recent report in Time magazine notes that tree pollen may reach unusually high levels this spring because persistent colder temperatures delayed some trees from pollinating in March. Allergy experts quoted in Time explain that since not all trees pollinate at the same time, the delays resulted in a great many trees pollinating all at once.

Some of those experts add that those of us in New England (where the last winter storm occurred in March) should pay particular attention to pollen levels. That means, of course, that people who dread allergy season in general may look forward to an even greater challenge in avoiding pollen this year.
 
Still, there are steps allergy sufferers can take to help minimize their exposure to the potent powder:

  • Keep windows closed to keep pollen out, and use an air-conditioner which cleans, cools, and dries the air. Do the same when riding in your car.
  • Minimize outdoor activity between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen is most prevalent.
  • Stay indoors when the pollen count is high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.
  • Avoid lawn mowing or being around freshly cut grass, and do not rake leaves. Pollen resting on top and mold spores buried beneath the pile will be released.
  • Machine-dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it’s hung outside.
  • Shower after outside activities to remove pollen from your hair and skin. Also, showering before bed can help keep allergens out of your bedding.
  • Remove your shoes in the hallway to avoid tracking in pollen from the soles of your shoes.
  • Vacuum or use a Swiffer rather than a broom when cleaning floors or carpets. This will help avoid kicking up any pollen or dander from floors.
  • Change and wash bedding weekly when the pollen count is high.
  • Because fur is a pollen magnet, towel off your outdoor pets before they enter the house.

When you need to treat allergy symptoms, traditional OTC medications such as Zyrtec, Benadryl, and Claritin may provide relief for runny noses, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches.

As always, consult your physician before starting any new medicines. Learn more about allergies, including symptoms, causes, and treatments.

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The information written about in this blog is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek care from a medical professional when you have a health concern.