Pollen Allergies: Causes, Types & Prevention Explained
About 10% to 40% of people in India are affected by pollen allergy. Many people have the symptoms throughout the year, while for some, the symptoms appear during the peak seasons.
Once triggered, pollen allergy persists for a lifetime. However, the symptoms can be treated by several medications and home remedies.
In this article, we will see what pollen allergy is and how to treat it.
What Are Pollen Allergies?
One of the major causes of allergies is pollen. Pollen is minute particles that flowers, trees, weeds and grasses produce to fertilise plants of similar species. However, these particles have an adverse effect on many people.
Our immune system protects the body from harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses in order to avoid illness. When some people breathe in these pollen, the immune system identifies them as a potential danger and begins to form chemicals to fight against the issue. This causes an allergic reaction and leads to pollen allergy.
What Are the Types of Pollen Allergies?
These are the main types of pollen allergy –
- Oak Pollen Allergy
- Birch Pollen Allergy
- Ragweed Pollen Allergy
- Grass Pollen Allergy
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pollen Allergies?
Let us take a look at the various symptoms of pollen allergy –
- Itchy Throat
- Red, Watery and Itchy Eyes
- Stuffy or Runny Nose
- Coughing or Wheezing
What Are the Causes of Pollen Allergies?
Certain plants make fine powders known as pollen. These pollen are very light, can travel through the air and are the primary cause of pollen allergy.
Some plants that produce the most pollen are –
- Trees like ash, oak, elm, maple, birch, hazel and alder.
- Grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy, Johnson, redtop, Bermuda, and orchard grass.
- Weeds like sagebrush, ragweed, goosefoot, redroot pigweed, tumbleweed, English plantain and lamb’s quarters.
How to Diagnose Pollen Allergies?
Usually, a doctor can diagnose pollen allergies. However, the doctor might refer an individual to an allergist to test and confirm the allergy.
Firstly, an allergist will inquire about the symptoms, including when it started and your family history. Then, the allergist will perform a skin prick test to identify the allergen and diagnose accordingly.
What Are the Treatments for Pollen Allergies?
There are several methods on how to treat pollen allergy. These methods include the following approaches –
A doctor might prescribe you the following medicines to treat pollen allergy –
- Antihistamines like cetirizine or diphenhydramine
- Decongestants like pseudoephedrine or oxymetazoline
- Actifed and Claritin-D
Medical professionals recommend allergy shots if the medications do not ease the symptoms. These shots are a type of immunotherapy in which allergens are injected into your body.
Individuals, who want to know how to cure pollen allergies naturally, can try these home remedies –
- Use a neti pot or a squeeze bottle to flush the pollen from your nose.
- Try herbs, such as spirulina or PA-free butter.
- Remove and wash the clothes that you wore outside.
- Dry the clothes using a dryer instead of drying outside.
- Use an air conditioner in homes and cars.
- Buy a high-efficiency dehumidifier or HEPA filter.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to clean your house regularly.
How to Prevent Pollen Allergies?
Use the following methods to prevent your exposure to pollen –
- Stay indoors on windy and dry days.
- Avoid doing gardening work during peak seasons.
- Wear a dust mask when pollen count is high.
- Close the windows and doors at the time of high pollen count.
A pollen allergy affects your day-to-day activities with a stuffy nose, watery eyes and sneezing. However, medications and lifestyle changes can minimise the symptoms. Nevertheless, if you have to work outside on peak seasons, make sure to keep an eye on the pollen count. The pollen counts are predicted in certain smartphone apps, newspapers and TV channels.