(Photo Credit: Gracie Wipfli/Achona Online).
Spring is best known for warm weather, beach days, sports, relaxation- and pollen. More than 50 million Americans are affected by seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Florida’s foliage is in the height of it’s perpetual bloom, and that includes pollen. Florida’s allergy season is much longer than anywhere in the United States. The allergy season can linger all the way into November and while there are benefits from the warm weather, there is also an increase in sneezing and coughing.
How to survive the pollen season:
Know your pollen count.
A pollen count is an index of the amount of pollen in the air, it is shared with the public and easily accessible for the benefit of those allergic to it. There are many apps and websites that can keep you up to date on how severe the pollen will be on a given date. For example, Allergy Alert can help you stay up to date with emails entailing the pollen count for the next two days.
Change your clothes.
After being outside for a considerable amount of time, change your clothes immediately when you get home. Your clothes can carry pollen from the outdoors to anywhere in your home- including the couch, your bed, doorknobs, and flat surfaces.
“My whole family is really allergic to pollen, so I make sure to change clothes right when I get home,” Mary Kelly Cardillo (‘20) said
Be careful around pets.
Just like you, pets can also carry pollen around the house. Stray away from petting your dog after they have been outside. Wipe them down before they enter the home.
Some pollen particles can be seen…and some can’t. Pollen particles can be smaller than a particle of human hair. Shower immediately when you get home so that there isn’t any pollen lingering around your home.
Wash your hands.
Along with showering, wash your hands as often as possible. Pollen particles linger on your hands long after being outdoors, and touching your face and eyes can irritate them. So, wash your hands.
Recirculate the air in your car.
Choose the recirculating air setting in your car to keep the air filtered and free from pollen. An added bonus, although tempting, keep your windows rolled up.
The Vaseline method.
Applying a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor to the tip of your nostrils can help trap the pollen particles before they can enter your mucous membranes, causing irritations.
— Vaseline (@VaselineBrand) September 18, 2015
Keep nasal spray ready.
Using nasal sprays such as Equate or Afrin, can help cleanse your nasal passage from pollen and relieve your symptoms.
“I already have really bad allergies alone, so pollen season is miserable for me. I take Zyrtec every day,” Morgan Salzsieder (’18) said.
Use natural remedies.
Multiple natural remedies can really do the trick when dealing with pollen allergies. For example, peppermint oil on the tongue, a steam facial, apple cider vinegar, tumeric, spicy foods, green tea, or fish oil pills can help alleviate pollen symptoms along with clearing your air passageways.
Over-the-counter decongestants help relieve stuffy noses and antihistamines can aid itching. If your symptoms are unbearable, see your local allergist to prescribe medication or consider getting an immunotherapy shot. Allegra, Benadryl, or Clarinex are all effective over-the-counter options.