Pollen, Pollen Everywhere: Protect Yourself from This Allergy Naturally
If you are one of the 39 million Americans that falls victim to seasonal allergies, you know that pollen is not your friend. What else do you know about pollen? You may have heard that its levels lately are four times higher than normal. Learn how to protect yourself from pollen naturally.
What Is Pollen?
Pollen is a vital part of the reproductive process for plants. The pollen grain is the structure that carries the male DNA to a receptive flower. These pollen grains are microscopic, and one pinch can contain several thousand grains. Most pollens are at least slightly allergenic but others have developed reputations as hay-fever inducing allergens. Grass pollen, birch tree pollen, and ragweed are most known to aggravate seasonal allergies. The best way to avoid the hay fever, itchy eyes, and asthma that pollen provokes is to limit your exposure to pollen.
To be Forewarned Is to be Forearmed
There are several resources that describe pollen levels and how they will affect you. Having seasonal allergies means that different pollens are going to be in the air at different times, and it is important that you know what those are going to be. Generally seasonal allergens follow a pattern: trees pollinate first, in the early spring; grasses then follow in the summer; weeds round out your seasonal allergies in the fall. Plants and trees that give off these pollens vary in location and climate, so keep yourself informed about the pollens specific to your area. Weather.com and pollen.com are two excellent indexes for pollen levels and forecasts in your neighborhood.
Dear Diary: Pollen Is a Playground Bully
Everyone has a slightly unique form of allergies: You may be allergic to all pollens or only one type of pollen. You may find that your allergies are not only seasonal as you react to food allergens as well. Your allergy sensitivities can even change! Therefore it will be helpful for you to keep a log of what your body reacts to. Knowing the specific attributes of your condition will go a long way toward helping you prevent it.
Stay inside When Pollen Is at Its Peak
The highest levels of pollen occur between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.. Warm, windy days also produce higher levels because the heat stimulates pollen production and the breeze sends the pollen airborne. Though it may not always be possible, try to avoid going outside during these times. Overcast or rainy days are safer because the pollen is washed out of the air by moisture.
Keep Pollen out of Your Home
Safeguard your home by employing a few tricks: keep your windows shut, and turn on the air conditioning. Be sure to change A/C filters regularly, and consider buying filters specially designed to keep pollens out. When you come home, take a shower and change your clothes to eliminate pollen build up on hair and clothes. Indoor pets should also be hosed down after going outside. Dry your laundry in a machine rather than outside, as pollen could catch in it if left exposed to the elements.
Lawn and Garden
Keep your grass short to reduce pollination, but don't mow it yourself if you suffer from seasonal allergies. If you have a garden, then consider wearing a mask when you work in it, and try to limit that time to mid-afternoon when pollen levels are lowest. When planning your garden, remember that brightly-colored flowers are usually insect pollinated, meaning that their pollen is less likely to make its way to your nose and aggravate your allergies. By incorporating these techniques into your lifestyle, you can minimize the impact that seasonal allergies have on your life.
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