Pollen is a granular powdery substance that is produced by flowers, trees, grasses, and weeds in order to fertilise plants of other species. Pollen is dispersed from one flowering plant to the other by insects such as bees or spread naturally in the wind. People have a tendency to develop allergic symptoms to pollen such as asthma or hay fever (itchy and runny nose or watery eyes). An individual can suffer from pollen allergy throughout the year while another person can tend to have them during specific seasonal changes. And when someone develops this allergy they are likely to suffer from it in the long run.
Pollen can be difficult to avoid because it circulates naturally in the wind and gets easily inhaled. However, following a few precautionary steps can help you stay protected from pollen allergies.
Types of Pollen Allergies
Although there are a hundred types of pollen allergy that circulate in the air released by several kinds of plant species, only a few are common and set off allergic reactions:
1. Birch Pollen Allergy
During the spring season, this is the most common airborne allergen. When birch trees bloom, they release minute pollen grains that are then scattered about by the wind.
2. Grass Pollen Allergy
This is a very common allergen during the summer and spring seasons. Although grasses are of several types, a few kinds such as Bermuda grass, bluegrass, and perennial rye have the capability to trigger a set of allergic reactions in sensitive people.
3. Ragweed Pollen Allergy
Most prevalent during the early autumn months, ragweed plants are a type of weed that is responsible for producing up to 1 billion pollen grains. The ragweed plant can start to release pollen during August and it can continue to spread well into November. Wind-driven pollen can travel up to hundreds of miles and can survive even during a mild winter.
4. Oak Pollen Allergy
Oak trees are also active the most during springtime. Oak pollen is mildly allergenic when compared to pollen released from other trees. But it tends to stay in the air for longer periods of time which can cause allergic reactions in people.
Pollen Allergy Symptoms
The immunity of a person varies from one individual to the other. The symptoms caused as a result of the allergy can also vary and can be difficult to pinpoint. But if you have a tendency to suffer from an allergy, you should track them so that you can explain to the doctor and get a more accurate treatment method. Some common symptoms and signs of pollen allergy are as follows:
- Sore throat
- Itchy eyes that are also watery
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus pressure that can cause facial pain
- Increased asthmatic reactions
- Lowered sense of smell and taste
- Bluish skin beneath the eyes that appear swollen
Causes of Pollen Allergy
The immunity reacts in a specific way to allergens. The immunity creates antibodies that identify the allergen and this causes inflammatory reactions. The reaction will release a chemical referred to as histamine. Histamines are instrumental in causing hay fever such as watery and itchy eyes and nose along with sneezing.
Pollen Allergy Diagnosis
A general physician is your first point of reference for pollen allergy diagnosis. In order to confirm their suspicion, the doctor is likely to advise you to undergo a few tests.
- The doctor will inquire about the symptoms and your overall medical history.
- The doctor is going to conduct a skin prick test on different body parts in order to identify the specific allergen responsible for causing the symptoms.
- At the time of the skin prick test, different allergen types will be inserted. If you are allergic to any of these, you are likely to show symptoms within 15-20 minutes.
- Allergy testing is also conducted through the means of bloodwork.
Pollen Allergy Treatment
The doctor will advise you on the following pollen allergies treatment in case you are found to be allergic to pollen:
- Antihistamine medications
- Medications combining decongestants and antihistamines
- Allergy shots that alter the response of the immune system to the allergic reactions
- Home remedies such as:
- Drying clothes in the dryer rather them putting them on the clothing line outside
- Using a neti pot to flush pollen out of the nostrils
- Removing immediately the clothes that you wore outside and washing them
- Use air conditions at home and in cars and do not open windows or doors
- Vacuum regularly
- Keep an air purifier if possible
- Wear dust masks when stepping out
- Wear sunglasses
Pollen allergy is seasonal and the only way you can minimise an allergic reaction is by following the remedies mentioned above during pollen season. In case you suffer from an asthma attack induced by pollen allergy, you must seek medical help right away. The doctor will advise you on a specific treatment method to manage asthma.