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Itching to get outside and enjoy the fresh air but battling itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing? You’re not alone. Springtime brings beautiful blooms, but also tree pollen, the first seasonal allergen that typically starts in March. Rest assured, with a little planning and these tips you don’t have to let airborne irritants stop you from enjoying the warmer weather and all the beauty this season has to offer. This article details what you need to know about tree pollen allergies and where to start for some relief.
What are the symptoms of pollen allergies?
It’s not uncommon to think you’ve caught a cold when you actually have allergies. Sometimes referred as hay fever, tree pollen allergies may cause these symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus pressure
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Postnasal drip
How do you get diagnosed with a pollen allergy?
The symptoms of a pollen allergy are usually clear enough for your family doctor to identify, but they might refer you to an allergist to get a more specific diagnosis. An allergist can perform a skin prick test to figure out which specific pollens trigger an allergic reaction.
How do you relieve pollen allergy symptoms?
The largest concentration of tree pollen is released between mid-March and mid-June. For those who suffer with allergies, luckily there are a number of remedies that may help relieve symptoms of tree pollen allergies so you get back outside and enjoy the season.
1. Use antihistamines or nasal decongestants
Allergies are the result of releasing a substance called histamine. This occurs because your body’s immune system mistakes pollen and other allergens as a threat and overreacts in an attempt to protect itself. Antihistamines, like Zyrtec® 24 Hour Allergy Relief, are designed to help alleviate allergy symptoms by blocking your body’s release of histamine, thus preventing the symptoms. An alternative to antihistamines is nasal decongestants; Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain Relief is a great option to relieve nasal congestion, sinus pressure, nasal swelling, headache, fever, and minor body aches and pains. Be sure to talk with your doctor or health care professional to determine which option is best for you.
2. Keep tissues nearby
Tree pollen allergies tend to last for months, so you’ll want to ensure you have the softest tissues around to comfort your runny nose during allergy season. Kleenex® tissues are strong and absorbent for allergy sufferers, made with 3-layers to comfort skin and help protect your hands. Keep a box of Kleenex® tissues in the kitchen, living room, office, bathroom and bedroom to make sure the softest ultra-tissue among national brands for your nose is always at arm’s reach.
3. Stay inside on windy days
Tree pollen is an airborne allergen, which means it’s at the mercy of the wind. And if you suffer from tree pollen allergies, that means you are too. If you can, stay inside with windows and doors closed during windy days to avoid breathing in stray pollen. Use an air conditioner to help keep indoor temperatures comfortable. If you have a window air conditioner, keep the vent closed to the outside.
4. Check the daily pollen count
Pollen counts are highest on dry, windy days and lower after rainfall or at night – and usually peak between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and again at dusk, so avoid these times if you plan to be outdoors. If you plan to exercise outside during allergy season, consider wearing a face mask designed to filter out pollens. As soon as you get home, rinse out your nose with saline or ask your doctor about nose sprays to provide relief.
A tree pollen level above 50 is high, while one to 10 is considered low. Be sure to check your local pollen count before venturing outside and plan accordingly.
5. Vacuum regularly with a vacuum that uses a HEPA filter
Tree pollen, just like dust, animal hair, and other allergens, can be kept at bay with regular housecleaning. Vacuum 1 – 2 times a week with a HEPA filter vacuum to help trap allergen particles lingering on carpets and surfaces.
6. Use your vehicle’s air conditioner instead of rolling down the windows
There’s nothing quite like the open road, but avoid the temptation to roll down your windows during tree pollen season. Instead, rely on your vehicle’s air conditioner system, which is equipped with an air filter. That filter can block pollen from entering your cabin so you can focus on the drive.
7. Keep your air fresh with an air purifier with a HEPA filter
A great way to freshen stale air and remove allergens is to utilize an Air Purifier with a HEPA filter. The Fellowes® AeraMax® is built to accomodate True HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters with antimicrobial treatments. These filters safely remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including allergens, viruses, and cigarette smoke.
8. Wash it off
Pollen is sticky, and tends to attach itself to your hair and skin. Showering at night before going to bed to wash off any residual pollen will help make sleeping with allergies more tolerable.
With these tips, you can face allergy season head on!
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5. Hannam, Lisa. “How to Survive Allergy Season in Canada.” Best Health Magazine Canada, 21 Mar. 2021, www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/allergies/survive-allergy-season-canada/.
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