Are you suffering from Pollen Allergy, in the Spring season?
It started again, last year after a gap of 4 years, as soon as my surroundings changed. Last year, we shifted in a flat with lots of open areas, and ample green surroundings and I started to get impacted, once again. Running nose, red watery eyes, not-so-normal-allergic sneezing, followed by sinus! But this was not round the year scenario, as my health was impacted only in the spring months when hundreds of plants release pollens into the air. Due to higher wind currents, these fine pollens can be carried for long distances. And I was diagnosed with “Pollen Allergy”, often referred to as allergic rhinitis or Hay fever. Do you find similar symptoms like mine? Then continue reading about Pollen Allergy!
What Is Pollen Allergy?
Spring is my favorite season, and why not, blooming trees and colorful flowers make the aura so beautiful. But if you’re one of those people, who are prone to seasonal allergies, then definitely, Spring might not be the best season for you.
Pollens are the fine powders, that you must have seen mainly in the stamen of flowers. Well, pollens are produced by flowers, Tress (Birch, Oak, Cedar, Willow and few more) weeds (ragweeds) and Grasses and they fertilize other plants (same species). Flowers, trees, and weeds produce maximum Pollens during the spring months and the wind currents spreader them far and wide.
When we (people with Pollen allergy) breathe these fine particles in the air, our body considers them as harmful intruders and ignites a response by producing chemicals (histamines) to fight against pollen. Though pollens are harmless, it’s our Immune system’s confusion that leads to these allergic reactions to push away pollens out from the body. For some, these symptoms crop up during Spring and fall, while few may suffer round the year. Also, your body can show the symptoms of seasonal Pollen allergy in any age, and even all of a sudden. And then usually, it continues, as a trend.
What are the Symptoms of Allergy?
Most common symptoms of Pollen Allergy (which I’ve seen as a trend in my case too) are:
- Nasal Congestion and Runny nose
- Sneezing causing irritation in eyes and at times even in the throat
- Red and watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- It can also lead to Sinusitis
Also Read: Home Remedies to treat cold and cough in Kids!
How do doctors diagnose Pollen Allergy?
Not just Pollen allergy, many seasonal allergies can be tested either via Skin prick test or via IgE Blood test. Your results of these tests need to be matched with your symptoms to prove the allergy you are facing.
How to keep yourself Protected if you are allergic to pollens?
Keeping yourself well protected from the allergens will reduce your allergic reactions. Now that I’ve understood my cycle again, here are some measures that I have been taking:
1. Limit your outdoor time :
It is difficult, all the more since the weather turns pleasant after long winters. But if you stay in an area that has dry, windy days, compared to cool and rainy days, then you certainly need to limit your outdoor time. This will automatically lessen the pollen inhalation and reduce your allergic symptoms. During those windy days, try keeping the doors and windows also closed.
2. Use Nasal Masks and Air Purifier:
Using a HEPA Air purifier helps a lot in cleaning up the finer particles from the Indoor air. The market also has allergy-friendly filters, which you can have a look at. In case you need to walk out, don’t forget to cover your nose with allergy masks or even N95/N99 masks, to keep other finer particles at bay.
If you’re comfortable with well-fitted masks (like me), you can wear them while indoors, during the peak period of your allergy too.
3. Avoid gardening work:
You feel better for the day and wanna pamper your plant babies? I would say, STOP there itself. Delegate your gardening work or yard work in this peak spring season. Any allergen interaction will get you back into the same old situation of allergic Rhinitis.
4. Start Medications early:
If Pollen allergy has become a yearly seasonal trend, then start your medications before you hit spring. Maybe a week before and you’ll feel better protected, as your body will not release histamines when you come in contact with allergens, and thus no immune reactions in the form of allergy.
5. Dry your clothes, on drying stand inside, and avoid drying them on clothing line outside. Reason, pollens and similar allergens are very fine and may get stuck on your clothes, which you may inhale.
6. Keep the inner lining of your nose moisturized:
I apply 8-10 drops of Pure home-made ghee (lukewarm) twice a day. This acts as a barrier to external allergens and helps reduce allergy symptoms.
Jal Neti / Nasal irrigation is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment for Sinusitis and this can even help in Pollen allergy. But you need to be cautious while practicing this kriya. Do at home, only once you’ve learned from an experienced doctor/ayurvedic practitioner. It can help you flush out the pollen/allergens from your nose.
Some people have also suggested that therapies as Acupuncture help in seasonal allergies, though I haven’t tried it yet. But if you wish to go with it, do talk to your doctor before taking this therapy.
8. Dietary changes:
Though dietary changes will not negate the allergic reactions but can make your Immune system strong. Intake lots of liquids and vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables.
You can read more on Pollen Allergy relief at Webmed
What are the Medications for Pollen Allergy?
Despite these preventive measures, if you’re yet allergic and see the symptoms on the rise, then there are few OTC medications, anti-histamines as Zyrtec, decongestants as Zyrtec-D and few more. You can also opt for Homeopathy treatment (which I’m taking currently) for Allergic Rhinitis.
But always consult the physician before opting for any medications, as the dose, need of antihistamines and decongestants needs to be ascertained as per your reactions. If the conditions are severe, even Allergy shots may be recommended!
So, always ensure that your treatment is under supervision.
Stay Healthy, Stay strong!