Pollen allergies are some of the most common allergic conditions, and can put a damper on your spring and summer activities, but there are a number of effective ways to fight pollen, including closing windows, carefully planning time outside, buying an air filter, breathing through your nose, using your dryer, cleaning more often, and many more!
What is Pollen?
Pollen is one of the most common substances on our planet, namely because it is essential for the production of male gametes in seed plants. Given that there are untold billions of seed plants across the world, the presence of pollen is an important part of our planet’s flora. However, since it is so prevalent in the atmosphere, particularly in the spring when flowers and the rest of the natural world feel the need to reproduce, it is inevitable that it will also interact with humans. Unfortunately, many people are allergic to these particles, but the grains are microscopic in size, and can be difficult to avoid. Wind dispersal is a common method of spreading pollen grains, particularly for grass, and due to the randomness of dispersal and the small chance of the it landing on the proper recipient, a huge amount of this allergen is created.
Pollinosis is the formal name for a nasal allergy to pollen, but many people also call it hay fever, despite this being a specific allergy to grass pollen. The bottom line is that these allergies affect tens of millions of people around the world, and it can severely impact your health and comfort. Pollen allergies can produce red, itchy eyes, runny noses and excessive sneezing, shortness of breath, and asthmatic symptoms. While there are antihistamines and other formal treatments for these allergies, many people prefer a natural approach. Luckily, there are a number of lifestyle remedies and strategies to help protect you against this allergen, so let’s take a closer look!
Ways to Fight Pollen
The simple ways to fight pollen include:
Close the Windows
It may seem like common sense, but if you want to keep pollen out of your body, then you should start by keeping it out of your house. Although it’s lovely to keep the windows wide open in the spring and summer weather, you’re inviting millions of these particles into your home every day.
Use Your Dryer
Many people enjoy air-drying or line-drying their clothes, particularly in warm weather to get that fresh, natural scent imbued in the clothes. However, you are also asking for trouble, because pollen particles will stick to those fabrics, and you’ll end up bringing the allergen into the house, and keeping it close to your skin all day! In other words, use your dryer!
Don’t Use Window Fans
Window fans may seem like a green alternative to constantly flooding your house with air conditioning, but those gusting fans are sucking in pollenated air from outside and flushing it through your house. If you suffer from severe pollen allergies, avoid using window fans whenever possible.
Avoid Mid-day Excursion
It would be silly to hole up in your house and avoid the beautiful weather of spring and summer, just because of an allergy, but you can be a bit wiser in the timing of when you go outside. In the morning, there is dew on the ground and less pollen in the air, and in the evening, pollen has usually settled back to the ground, and there is less activity from people, insects and animals that kick up the particles into the air.
Add Ground Cover Plants
If you have a green thumb or your own garden, it can be almost impossible to avoid exposure to pollen, but you can plant wisely, and avoid seed plants that generate it. Ground cover plants and mosses don’t have pollen, so your backyard can be a bit of a haven from the pollen-dumping plants everywhere else.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed
If you let your lawn get overgrown, the amount of pollen you’ll be kicking up with every step will be exponentially greater. By keeping your lawn cut nice and short, you’ll greatly reduce the chances of bringing in the grass variety of this allergen on your clothes, shoes and pets.
Check the Weather
There are numerous weather apps and notifications about “high pollen” days, and you can partially plan your schedule around the weather, just to make sure you’re not exposing yourself unnecessarily. Also, rainy days and days following heavy rains tend to have lower amounts of this allergen, so perhaps plan your outside activities around that!
Going for a spring jog may be lovely, but if you suffer from this common allergy, then running or exercising outside during high pollen days can be irritating or downright dangerous. You tend to breathe through your mouth while exerting yourself, which allows all of those allergens in at even greater rates.
Breathe Through Your Nose
Your nose is equipped with hairs that can filter out pathogens and allergens, like pollen, whereas your mouth doesn’t have that sort of protective level. If you want to keep your allergic reactions under control, try to consciously breathe through your nose more often!
Wear Glasses/Sunglasses, Not Contact Lenses
Contact lenses may be more stylish than glasses, but they also trap pollen underneath them, allowing them to continue irritating the eyes. Furthermore, glasses and sunglasses act as physical barriers to this allergen blowing in the wind, helping to keep your eyes from turning so red during high-concentration days.
Control Other Irritants
This particular allergy can be exacerbated if you are also exposed to other irritants or allergens at the same time, so by controlling other things, such as mold and pet dander, you can reduce your susceptibility to this allergen. Once your body is in high allergic reaction mode, it’s easier to set off another attack, so consider other possible irritants too!
Keep the Plants Outside
Adding some green to your house is understandable, but it can also bring the problem of pollen allergies right into the bedroom. Invest in non-pollen plants, such as cacti or ferns for the home, rather than those who might be filling your interior air with irritating pollen.
Clean More Often
Cleaning the surfaces and floors of your home is a great way to keep your allergies at bay, as the particles can gather and then be kicked back up into the air following activity. Air purifiers are also highly useful for keeping the interior of your house clean and pollen-free.
Bathe Your Pets
It’s hard to control where your pets run off to and play when they’re outside, but once they’re back in the house, the pollen, dust, mites and other possible allergens come along with them. Be sure to wash your pets more often during the spring and summer, and other high-pollen times of the year.
Your diet can actually help train your body to be less susceptible to allergens. Certain foods can suppress the immunoglobulin response that causes allergic reactions. Some of the best anti-allergenic foods include apples, flaxseed, green tea and garlic.