With April showers and May flowers quickly approaching, it’s important to know how to combat spring’s yellow snow – pollen. This substance can cause your immune system to go into panic mode, releasing histamine which causes your symptoms to flare. Allow us to answer frequently asked questions about a pollen allergy and how we can help:
What is a pollen allergy and its symptoms?
A pollen allergy, also referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occurs when your immune system overreacts to pollen that was released from plants such as weeds, trees, or grass. If pollen enters your body via your nose, eyes, or mouth, your immune system will try to flush out the pollen by releasing a natural chemical called histamine. Histamine may cause symptoms such as:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Runny nose
- Watery, itchy eyes
If you think that a pollen allergy only rears its head in spring, think again. These plants release their seeds into the air in spring, summer, or fall, and the wind can carry it for hundreds of miles. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help.
What treatment options are available for a pollen allergy?
There are many treatment options available for a pollen allergy, but first your allergist must make sure you are dealing with allergic rhinitis before creating a treatment plan. At Langford Allergy, we test for the presence of a pollen allergy using a skin prick test. We will lightly prick your skin and place a small amount of the allergen on the area. If you are allergic to the allergen, your skin will show an allergic reaction within 15 minutes. Your allergist will talk to you about the results and determine which treatment option is best for you. Here are several great options that are available:
- Eye drops
- Nasal spray
If you want a permanent solution, we recommend immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is therapy for the immune system, teaching it to stop overreacting when it contacts pollen.
What lifestyle changes can minimize the effects of pollen?
While you’re going through your treatment plan to eliminate your pollen allergy, it’s wise to make a few lifestyle changes to minimize the effects of pollen. Here are a few tips to help you navigate spring’s yellow snow:
- Change your clothes after being outdoors.
- Keep your house/car windows shut and use your HVAC system instead.
- Stay inside if pollen counts are high.
- Wash your hair before going to bed, as pollen can stick to your hair and cling to your sheets.
- Wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.