Protect Yourself From Pollen

Spring is in full swing in Hampton Roads, which means a nice green sheet of pollen is covering everything from your front porch to your car.

For people with allergies to pollen, this time of year can be almost unbearable. From headaches to runny noses to itchy eyes, it’s hard to focus on anything when it feels like you can’t breathe.

2014 is an even worse year for pollen, thanks to the polar vortex. Because it stayed cold for so long, it postponed tree pollination. Usually trees release pollen gradually all spring, but this year, they are releasing pollen much faster and at the same time as many other plants.

While avoiding pollen altogether is impossible, you can reduce your exposure by following these simple tips.

  • Stay inside in the mornings. The amount of pollen in the air is higher during the mornings and on dry, windy days. Try to go out in the afternoons and evenings or enjoy the outdoors on still, humid days.
  • Keep your windows shut. As tempting as it is to let the breeze in, keep your windows closed during the spring when pollen is worst.
  • Let allergy-free family members do the yard work. Mowing the lawn and gardening expose you to high amounts of pollen. If you have to do yardwork, wear a mask with a HEPA filter, gloves and wash your clothes and hair immediately when you come in.
  • Be careful when petting your animals. If your cat or dog has been outside, it is likely they’ve rubbed against pollen in grass, bushes and flowers. Be sure to wash your hands after petting them and before touching your face.
  • Don’t track pollen in. Leave your shoes and coats in a garage or other outside space instead of bringing them in with you. It will help keep the pollen out of your home.
  • Use an air purifier. Air purifiers can remove allergens from the air. The best place to put the purifier is in the room you spend the most time in, most likely your bedroom. It can lead to nights with fewer sniffles and more sleep.

Share your tips for avoiding pollen in the comments.

+ Dr. Christine Franzese uses advanced treatments to control allergy symptoms. Schedule an appointment with her today by calling 757-889-5632.

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