Controlling Allergens: Pollen

Controlling Allergens: Pollen

Constant exposure to allergens means constant allergy symptoms. That’s why controlling or avoiding the allergens that cause your symptoms is an important part of your treatment. If you are allergic to pollen, the tips below may help. The more you do to keep all allergens away from your nose, the better you’ll feel.

Woman setting control on window air conditioner. Man sitting at table reading pollen count in newspaper.
Keep windows closed, especially when pollen counts are high, and use air conditioning instead.

Pollen Allergy

The pollen that causes allergies is usually not the pollen in colorful or scented flowers such as roses. This pollen, which is carried from plant to plant by insects such as butterflies and bees, is large and heavy and doesn’t travel through the air. The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergies are made by plants (trees, grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers. These plants manufacture small, light, dry pollen granules that are blown from plant to plant by the wind. Pollen can travel through the air over great distances, and is hard to avoid.

Pollen Allergy Is Seasonal

People experience pollen only when the pollen grains to which they are allergic are in the air. Each plant has a pollinating period that is more or less the same from year to year. Exactly when a plant starts to pollinate seems to depend on the relative length of night and day—and therefore on geographical location—rather than on the weather.

Controlling Pollen

Below are some tips to help you limit your exposure to pollen:

  • Check pollen counts and avoid spending a lot of time outdoors when counts are high. Pollen counts tend to be higher during warm, dry weather. They also tend to be higher during early morning and late afternoon hours. In some areas, daily pollen counts are reported in the paper and on the radio.

  • After spending time outdoors, change your clothes, and wash your hair before bed.

  • Stay indoors on windy days.

  • During the height of the allergy season, try getting away to a place where your allergies won’t bother you as much. Your doctor may have suggestions.