Pollen allergies, also known as hay fever, are a type of allergy that occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to pollen. Pollen is a fine powder produced by plants to reproduce. It can be carried by the wind and can travel long distances.
Pollen allergies are most common during the spring and summer, when pollen counts are highest. Pollen allergies can also occur during the fall, when trees release pollen.
Symptoms of pollen allergies can include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, pollen allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the throat. If you think you are having an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 immediately.
There is no cure for pollen allergies, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. The most important thing is to avoid pollen as much as possible. You can do this by:
- Staying indoors when pollen counts are high
- Wearing a mask when you go outside
- Keeping your windows and doors closed
- Showering after being outside
- Avoiding activities that stir up pollen, such as mowing the lawn
You can also take over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve your symptoms.
If you have pollen allergies, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and learn about your treatment options.
Here are some additional tips for managing pollen allergies:
- Track pollen counts in your area and avoid spending time outdoors when counts are high.
- Use an air purifier in your home to remove pollen from the air.
- Wash your bedding and clothes regularly to remove pollen.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, as these can irritate your airways and make your allergy symptoms worse.
If you have any questions or concerns about pollen allergies, be sure to talk to your doctor.