Pollen seems to be everywhere these days – evoking coughs the minute you step outside and causing your eyes to itch and water when you stay indoors.
Allergy experts are noticing the season of sneezing is lasting longer and bothering us more and more every year, especially after mild winters causing higher tree and then grass pollen emissions into the air. Even if you’re not outdoorsy, open windows allow the pollen to blow into the home to torment you.
Philip Hemmers, DO, an allergist with Hartford HealthCare’s St. Vincent’s Medical Center, said the seasonal allergy agony is expected to last at least through the end of June.
It becomes a matter of avoiding pollen or eliminating it from the air you breathe to bypass its effects on your body, which can include sneezing, congestion and its related sleep disturbances, itchy and watery eyes, headache and coughing.
Try these simple tips to ease your exposure to pollen while it’s blowing in the wind:
- Clean more often. It’s a pain, but wiping down kitchen counters, tables and your work space daily can remove the pollen that settles there.
- Leave shoes and jackets in one area. Avoid trekking extra pollen into your living and working spaces by shedding these items near the door.
- Close the windows. Sure, you’ll miss the beautiful breezes, but think of the misery contained in the air on high-pollen count days.
- Shower at night. Think of all the pollen on your body at the end of the day. Instead of lying down to sleep with it settled on your pillow, wash it off with a pre-bed shower.
- Try saline spray. Non-medicated saline spray is an easy way to cleanse your nostrils of pollen, and it’s also non-addicting.
- Plug in an air purifier. Home offices are the perfect place to run a small HEPA air purifier to remove pollen and other allergens from the air.
- Avoid hair gel. Fashionistas might rely on a dab or two of gel to keep their locks in place, but the sticky substance actually attracts and traps pollen close to your face, where it can cause problems. Applying the same concept with a dab of Vaseline under each nostril, however, can trap the pollen and prevent it from getting into your nose.
- Shield your face. Hats, visors and sunglasses are more than just fashion statements, they also protect your eyes from airborne allergens like pollen.
- Track the pollen. Pollen counts peak outdoors late in the day, so you might want to put off yardwork or other activities for a better experience.
- Turn recirculate off in the car. When you’re out driving, keep the windows and sunroof closed. If you use the air conditioning, set “recirculate air” off to avoid drawing in pollen-laden air from the outside.