The beginning of spring can be a time of awakening, a refreshing time, and welcomed relief from the harsh elements and gloomy winter weather. However, as the sun is shining and the weather is starting to warm up, spring is also the beginning of allergy season. Pollen is the most common and widespread wind-borne allergen that can be found almost everywhere, not only outdoors but indoors as well. It is estimated that as many as 35 million Americans are allergic to pollen. Those that have an allergy to pollen may experience seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. There are three main pollen categories – tree, weed and grass – and you can be allergic to one or all of them. Those that suffer from pollen allergies in the southern United States begin to feel the effects as early as January while those in the north may not be affected until May or June. Trees are the earliest producers of pollen and cause the first signs of allergy symptoms in those that have a pollen sensitivity. In fact, the pollen count is so elevated in some areas of the United States already that even those without an allergy to pollen are feeling some of the allergy symptom effects.
Facts About Pollen
Pollen grains are the reproductive cells that come from flowers, grasses, trees, plants and weeds. From the start of Spring through the Fall, pollen grains are released by these plants and are carried by the wind in hopes of fertilizing other plants. Pollen is also spread by water, animals and bees. Some interesting facts about pollen:
- Rather than producing bright, colorful flowers, plain varieties of trees, grasses and weeds are shown to be the largest contributor to pollen allergies. These produce the lightest pollen grains that are carried the furthest by the wind and can remain airborne for long distances.
Pollen counts are the lowest after a heavy rain. They are the highest in the morning and when it is dry, hot and windy.
- One ragweed plant can release as many as 1 million grains of pollen each day
- Particle size varies by plant, but the majority range from 10-100 microns. The producer of the smallest pollen grains, at .006 microns, is the Forget-Me-Not while the largest pollen produced, measuring as large as 150-750 microns, comes from Spanish Moss.
Spring Allergy Symptoms:
If you’re finding yourself sniffling and sneezing at the start of spring, or earlier if you live in the southern US states, it is most likely due to tree pollen. Symptoms include:
swollen, watery eyes, conjunctivitis
itchy eyes, nose, throat
dark circles under the eyes called “allergic shiners”
runny nose, sinus congestion, sneezing
coughing, sore throat
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends the following treatments:
- Nasal corticosteroids
- Leukotriene receptors
- Cromolyn sodium nasal spray
Natural Spring Allergy Relief:
If you prefer to try natural remedies for your allergy symptoms, be sure to look into the following:
- Raw, local honey
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Stinging nettle
- Neti Pot
- Essential Oils
Additionally, the following lifestyle changes can also bring extra allergy relief to sufferers.
- Wash clothes and bedding once a week
- Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin or in your hair
- Wipe your pets down after they’ve gone outside
- Limit your exposure to the outdoors on days with high pollen counts
- Keep windows in your home and car closed to reduce the amount of pollen getting inside
- Keep your HVAC system fan running to allow the air to be filtered continuously
- Dust, vacuum and mop at least once a week
- Remember to change your air filters!
US Home Filter Offers AC Filters to Help Reduce Allergens
No matter which type of HVAC system your home has, every unit needs a quality air filter that fits properly in order to maximize your indoor air quality, reduce spring allergy triggers and keep your unit running efficiently. US Home Filter can provide you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter in your furnace is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter offers filters to fit all heating and air conditioning units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!
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