Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies which affect millions of people around the world. Having pollen allergies means that you experience an allergic reaction when exposed to pollen particles. It is also known as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. As a dedicated fruit grower, it will be very difficult for you to perform your daily activities if you have a pollen allergy. Sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes can turn yard work into misery. So if you experience an allergic reaction to pollen, you need to take a few simple precautions to control it effectively for your own well being.
Pollen allergies are seasonal and mild requiring nothing more than prescription medications approved to treat seasonal allergies. You should start taking these medications a few weeks before allergy season begins. Ask your doctor about medications that can be taken in advance of pollen season. For people with severe pollen allergies, there are two immunotherapy options including allergy shots and tablets that dissolve under the tongue. Normally you don’t need EpiPen or epinephrine injection to treat pollen allergies.
What is Pollen?
Pollen is the male fertilizing agent of flowering plants which is produced by plants as part of their reproduction process. Pollen has evolved to adhere itself to nearly any place in search of a female ovule to fertilize. This is a major plus for farmers but not so nice for people who are suffering from pollen allergies.
There are two types of pollen, entomophilous pollen and anemophilous pollen. Entomophilous pollen is the type of pollen insects like bees and butterflies pick up and transfer from plant to plant. Anemophilous pollen, on the other hand is the annoying version that plagues allergy sufferers. Rather than being carried by bees and other insects, it relies on the wind to spread throughout the environment.
Pollen Allergy Symptoms
When a person breathes in pollen, it releases some kind of water soluble proteins on the respiratory lining. These proteins are mostly harmless, but sometimes a person’s body mistakenly identifies them as harmful substances and releases antibodies. These antibodies then attach to mast cells in the body and release substance known as histamine which is responsible for pollen allergy. Pollen allergy causes a person to experience some or all of the following symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, wheezing and itchy throat.
Treatments for Pollen Allergies
Allergies can make life incredibly uncomfortable. Medical treatments, natural remedies and changes in lifestyle habits can help ease symptoms of seasonal allergies. Here are some natural remedies for pollen allergy to keep your symptoms at bay. I recommend you to try them before you go to see a doctor to get expensive and annoying medical treatments.
- Spritz a saline rinse into your nose daily to wash away dust and pollen.
- Wear sunglasses when you go out during the day time to keep pollen and dust away from your eyes.
- Cook with turmeric. It can help reduce allergy symptoms.
- Change your clothes when you come home and take a shower.
- Drink more water. Being dehydrated can heighten any allergy symptoms you are experiencing.
- Consume local honey. Honey contains trace amounts of pollen and it can strengthen your immune system and reduce allergy symptoms over time.
- Wear a respirator mask. It will block 90% of small particles including pollen and other allergens.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Stop using alcoholic beverages and smoking.
- Make sure your appliances have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.
- Change your car’s cabin air filter yearly.
- Exercise regularly. At least 30 minutes of moderate daily workout can result in substantial allergy relief.
If you don’t get any positive results after trying the above natural remedies and lifestyle changes, then you can consider channeling a consultant immunologist or allergist to get required medical treatments. These treatments can be expensive compared to natural remedies but will probably help manage allergy symptoms. Some treatments for pollen allergy include the following.
- Nasal corticosteroids. These nasal sprays help treat and prevent nasal itching, nasal inflammation and runny nose caused by allergies.
- Antihistamines. These prescription pills, eye drops and nasal sprays can help with a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing.
- Cromolyn sodium. This medication helps relieve allergy symptoms by preventing the release of histamine. Most effective when you use it before having the allergy symptoms.
- Allergy shots (immunotherapy). Your doctor may recommend immunotherapy if the other medications don’t relieve your allergy symptoms. Once you choose to treat yourself with allergy shots, you’ll receive regular injections containing small amounts of allergens over the next couple of years. These injections will make your body get used to the allergens that cause your symptoms and decrease your need for medications.
Pollen allergies are a common but irritating problem for many people. If you have a pollen allergy and go outside on a day when it’s flying around, you’ll start to have allergy symptoms. It’s important to know which trees trigger your allergies so you can minimize your exposure to their pollen. There are plenty of methods to treat pollen allergies including natural remedies and medical treatments. If you don’t get any good results after trying natural remedies, you need to get medical treatments from a qualified specialist doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical examination, skin prick test and allergy blood test to give you the best suitable treatment to control your allergy symptoms.