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Tips to Surviving Spring's Pollen

Scott Monge

The annual yellow dusting of cars, porches and sidewalks has peaked. This week’s pollen count in Atlanta is soaring above 2,000 and continues to climb. Blooming trees are the culprit for all the yellow powder, but experts say it’s what you can’t see that’s most problematic. Pines are the main contributor to all the pollen you see covering every outdoor surface. But most allergy sufferers are more sensitive to oak, hickory, pecan, maple and sweetgum trees that are currently in bloom.

Pollen is carried by the wind, so it doesn’t matter if you avoid North Georgia’s abundance of hickory, pecan and oak trees (the region’s most allergenic tree pollens), you’re likely to sneeze and sniffle no matter where you go. But what should you do to improve your chances of surviving spring?

  1. Stay clean. Wash bed linens in hot water every week. Shower before bed as pollen can accumulate in hair.
  2. Keep your house clean. Clean every surface of your home and wear a mask and gloves. Vacuum twice a week to limit dust accumulation.
  3. Get rid of rugs. Throw rugs are host to dust and mold, and pollen particulates can linger there for quite a while. Make sure your rugs are washable if you do have them.
  4. Control the air flow in your home. Keep windows closed and the air conditioning off to reduce pollen entering the house. Make sure filters in A/C units and vents are changed frequently.
  5. Avoid outdoor activities. If you suffer badly during pollen season, try to limit your time outside. Most plants pollinate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., so plan outdoor activities around those times.
  6. Be cautious around pets. Pets can carry pollen in their fur after being outside. Avoid jogs with your dog on windy days when pollen is stirred up. They can track all of the pollen particles inside, too.
  7. Treat pollen allergies. If you have a prescription for your allergies, be sure you’re taking the recommended dose. With over-the-counter medications, take them before going outside. Don’t wait until you’re already feeling the pain of pollen’s punch.
  8. See a doctor. If your suffering is continually growing worse and worse, get tested to find out exactly what you’re allergic to. Knowing what to avoid is half the battle.
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