Once an allergy has formed, it is unlikely to go away. On the other hand, medications and allergy injections may be used to treat symptoms. Certain lifestyle adjustments might also help alleviate the symptoms of pollen allergies. Pollen allergies are also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
Medically reviewed by Dr K on 24th June 2022.
Skip to Your Favourite Part:
- What are the many types of pollen allergies?
- Birch pollen allergy
- Oak pollen allergy
- Grass pollen allergy
- Ragweed pollen allergy
- What are the signs and symptoms of pollen allergy?
- How is pollen allergy diagnosed?
- How is a pollen allergy treated?
- Anti-allergy shots
- Home remedies
- When to consult a doctor
How To Manage Pollen Allergies
In the United States, pollen is one of the most prevalent causes of allergies.
Pollen is a fine powder that trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds generate to nourish other plants of the same kind. When exposed to pollen, many individuals have an unfavourable immunological reaction.
The immune system generally protects the body against unwanted invaders such as viruses and bacteria to prevent illness.
In individuals allergic to pollen, the immune system misidentifies the harmless pollen as a harmful invader. It starts producing compounds to combat pollen.
This is referred to as an allergic response, and the pollen that produces it is referred to as an allergen. The response causes a slew of vexing symptoms, including:
- stuffy nose
- watery eyes
Some individuals have pollen allergies all year, while others only have them during particular seasons. People who are allergic to birch pollen, for example, frequently have worse symptoms in the spring when the birch trees blossom.
Similarly, people who are allergic to ragweed are most afflicted in the late spring and early autumn.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, around 8% of individuals in the United States suffer from hay fever (AAAAI).
According to the National Health Interview Survey done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around the same proportion of American children were diagnosed with hay fever in 2014.
Once an allergy has formed, it is unlikely to go away. On the other hand, medications and allergy injections may be used to treat symptoms.
Certain lifestyle adjustments might also help alleviate the symptoms of pollen allergies.
Pollen allergies are also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
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What are the many types of pollen allergies?
Hundreds of plant species emit pollen into the atmosphere, causing allergic responses.
Here are a few of the most prevalent perpetrators:
Birch pollen allergy
During the spring, birch pollen is one of the most prominent allergens in the air. When the trees blossom, they produce small pollen grains that are dispersed by the wind.
A single birch tree may release up to 5 million pollen grains every year, with many of them migrating up to 100 yards from the parent tree.
Oak pollen allergy
During the spring, oak trees, like birch trees, release pollen into the air.
While oak pollen is considered slightly allergic in comparison to other tree pollen, it remains in the air for longer periods of time. Some people with pollen allergies may experience severe allergic reactions as a result of this.
Grass pollen allergy
During the summer, the grass is the most common source of pollen allergies.
It is responsible for some of the most severe and difficult-to-treat symptoms. The AAAAI, on the other hand, indicates that allergy injections and allergy pills may be quite effective in alleviating symptoms of grass pollen allergies.
Ragweed pollen allergy
Among weed pollens, ragweed plants are the most prevalent trigger of allergies. They are most active in the late spring and early autumn.
However, depending on where you live, ragweed may start spreading pollen as early as the final week of July and linger until the middle of October. Its wind-borne pollen can travel hundreds of kilometres and survive a mild winter.
What are the signs and symptoms of pollen allergy?
The following are the most common pollen allergy symptoms:
- nasal congestion
- sinus pressure, which may cause facial pain
- runny nose
- itchy, watery eyes
- scratchy throat
- swollen, bluish-coloured skin beneath the eyes
- decreased sense of taste or smell
- increased asthmatic reactions
How is pollen allergy diagnosed?
A pollen allergy may typically be diagnosed by your doctor. They may, however, send you to an allergist for allergy testing in order to confirm the diagnosis.
An allergist is a doctor who specialises in allergy diagnosis and treatment.
The allergist will initially inquire about your medical history as well as your symptoms, including when they began and how long they have lasted.
Tell them whether the symptoms are constant or if they become better or worse at particular seasons of the year.
The allergist will next conduct a skin prick test to identify the allergen causing your symptoms.
During the operation, the allergist will prick various places of the skin and implant a small number of allergens of various sorts.
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, you may experience redness, swelling, and irritation at the location within 15 to 20 minutes. You may also see a swelling, circular region that resembles hives.
How is a pollen allergy treated?
As with other allergies, avoiding the allergen is the best therapy. Pollen, on the other hand, is very difficult to avoid.
You may be able to reduce your pollen exposure by:
- On dry, windy days, remain indoors.
- asking the help of others to do any gardening or yard chores during peak seasons
- when pollen concentrations are high, wearing a dust mask (check the internet or the weather section of the local newspaper)
- When pollen levels are high, close doors and windows.
If you continue to have symptoms after following these precautions, there are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that may help:
- decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or oxymetazoline antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) (Afrin nasal spray)
- Actifed (triprolidine and pseudoephedrine) and Claritin-D are examples of drugs that combine an antihistamine with a decongestant (loratadine and pseudoephedrine)
If drugs do not relieve symptoms, allergy injections may be considered.
Allergy shots are a kind of immunotherapy that includes a series of allergen injections. The allergen content of the injection steadily rises over time.
The injections alter your immune system’s response to the allergen, which helps to lessen the intensity of your allergic responses. After commencing allergy injections, you may have total relief within one to three years.
A variety of home remedies may also aid in the relief of pollen allergy symptoms.
These are some examples:
- flushing pollen from the nose using a squeeze bottle or neti pot
- experimenting with herbs and extracts such as PA-free butterbur and spirulina
- removing and washing any outdoor-wearing apparel
- Using a dryer instead of a clothesline to dry clothes
- using air conditioning in automobiles and residences
- Purchasing a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a dehumidifier
- cleaning on a regular basis using a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner
When to consult a doctor
If your symptoms worsen or your drugs cause unpleasant side effects, you should notify your doctor.
Also, before attempting any new vitamins or herbs, ask your doctor first since some might interact with the efficiency of certain prescriptions.
Pollen allergies can cause sneezing, a stuffy nose, and watery eyes, interfering with your daily activities. Changes in your lifestyle and drugs can both assist to alleviate your symptoms.
A smart first step is to avoid the trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds that cause your allergies.
You can prevent pollen by remaining inside when pollen counts are high, particularly on windy days, or by using a dust mask.
Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, may also assist alleviate symptoms.
Immunology may also be recommended by your doctor (allergy shots).