Pollen allergy relief

The last of the big three allergens to know about when shopping for allergy relief products is pollen.

Pollen is possibly the most confusing of the allergens for two reasons. First, you can’t just get rid of pollen the way you can with pet dander and the way you can attempt to with mold. And, unlike mold and pet dander, pollen actually has positive effects on your life, ones that may not even seem obvious at first glance. So how do you battle something that is beneficial and everywhere?

With care. Learn the following five facts, and you’ll both understand and be able to beat pollen.

1. What the Heck is Pollen, Anyway?
It is vital to understand the enemy, but don’t let commercials fool you: pollen is not an enemy. In fact, it is an extremely important catalyst in the continuation of the ecosystem. Pollen is small, elliptical balls of reproductive material from flowering plants to cross-pollinate other plants. This leads to both the continuation of plant life and the variety of species among plant life. It also feeds certain insects and even humans (see point 2). It is carried by wind or by insects to reach other plants, and it can travel great distances. This is great for cross-pollination, but it also fills the air with allergens. This happens most often in the spring, when most plants are flowering, but pollen can last all year long.

2. Pollen is a Good Thing
As aforementioned, pollen is not a bad substance. In fact, it is a pure protein filled with vitamins (most notably B vitamins, but also including A, C, D and E). And, aside from it helping all our crops (and thus food) grow, it is also used in many of our foods. Just like bees use it to feed their young, we drink it down with smoothies and protein shakes and some vitamin supplements.

3. Symptoms: Hay Fever
Surely you’ve heard of hay fever, but did you know that it is pollen allergy? It can be one of the more annoying allergies, as it tends to be hardest to escape. Some of the symptoms include a foggy mind, dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses and the classic wheezin’ and sneezin’ that is characterized by mold allergies and by pet dander allergies.

4. Different Types of Pollen
Pollen allergy is actually a bit of a vague term, as there are many different types of pollen. Tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen all take a toll on allergy sufferers on a daily basis, and while there are some more common pollens (such as Oak), there are so many different types of trees, grass and weeds that it can get a bit tricky. The best thing to do is try to isolate which pollen you are allergic to. If that seems like an impossible task, do your best to follow the next two guidelines.

5. Don’t Track Pollen Indoors/Ways to Alleviate Allergies
Just like with pet dander, it is important to note that you will likely be covered in pollen after being outdoors. Make sure to do the simple things like removing your shoes and jacket, but if you could possibly have another set of clothes waiting at the door (maybe in the coat closet), changing completely wouldn’t be a bad thing. Nor would quickly washing your hair (or wearing a hat when outdoors and removing it immediately upon arrival home). It is important to keep pollen out of the house.

6. Ways to Alleviate Allergies
This advice works regardless of which type of allergen is being discussed. Using a HEPA air filter will help catch the allergen-causing particles and keep them from circulating around in the air. This can immediately raise your quality of life, and help defeat the allergens that try to sneak into your home.

While pollen might be the one positive allergen, it is still an allergen. So keep it outdoors, where it can do some good, and away from your home, and allergy relief will be yours.

A bee covered in pollen carries the allergen, spreading it everywhere it goes.

Last updated on Mar 27th, 2010 and filed under Immune System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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