Spring Pollen Allergies

 

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Spring Pollen Allergies

October 15, 2014

 

 

What allergies are prominent in the spring?

In the springtime, trees begin to pollinate.  In this area, this usually starts in February and goes through May.  Towards the end of April, grass start to pollinate and continue through June.   

 

Are indoor allergies a problem at this time also?

Yes.  Typically indoor allergens of dust mite, mold and pet dander are a problem all year round.  With heavy rains and flooding, this can make conditions more favorable for dust mites and molds--which thrive in damp environments. 

 

My car is covered in yellow pine pollen and I'm having a lot of allergies.  Am I allergic to pine trees?

Though some people are allergic to pine pollen, this is actually a relatively rare condition.  Pine pollen is a very large pollen grain.  This means that it is very visible but it also means that it is difficult for enough pine pollen to get into your nose and lungs to cause allergies. 

 

Well, if I'm not allergic to pine pollen, then what am I allergic to?

The only way to be entirely sure what you are allergic to is to be allergy tested.  However, most people who are allergic to tree pollen in this area are sensitive to Oak, Maple, Cedar, and other trees.  Later in the spring, Timothy, Bermuda, Bahia and other grasses cause allergies. 

 

How can I avoid pollen?

It is difficult to completely avoid pollen.  During pollen season, you can take measures to not be outdoors when the pollen counts are high and you can try to prevent the pollen from coming in to your home.  This may reduce your exposure enough to give you some relief from your allergy symptoms.

 

If avoidance isn’t enough, how can I treat my pollen allergies?

Aside from allergen avoidance, there are medications that you may find helpful.  Some of these medicines are available over the counter and some may require a prescription.  Often, it takes a combination of medicines to get allergies under control.  Of course, you will want to talk to your doctor about how to customize the best treatment plan for you that minimizes side effects.  The third option is “allergy shots”.

 

What are allergy shots?

If you see a board-certified allergy specialist, you can discuss possibly starting Immunotherapy (also known as “allergy shots”).  Immunotherapy is a regimen of regular injections given over several years to make you less allergic.  It involves giving gradually increasing doses of what you are allergic to.  This shifts your immune response to becoming less allergic to allergens.  Not everyone is a good candidate for immunotherapy and you should definitely talk to your allergy specialist to determine if you would benefit from them.

 

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