With the onset of spring comes daffodils, blooming forsythia and tree pollen. People with tree pollen allergy can be allergic to one or more different types of trees. Most tree pollens do not cross react with each other and different trees pollinate at slightly different times. If you look around your neighborhood you will notice that one type of tree will bloom in the early spring and another later on. In the New York area, if you happen to be allergic to the trees that are pollinating right now such as elm and maple, you will start having allergy symptoms now. If you are allergic to trees such as birch or sycamore, you will have a reprieve for a bit longer.
Although you can’t avoid tree pollen, there are some things you can do to reduce exposure. Here are some tips:
1. Sleep with the windows closed and the air conditioner on with the vent closed to the outside. Although it is great to feel and smell the spring air, if you sleep with the windows open, the pollen levels in your bedroom will be higher than they need to be and you will have more symptoms.
2. When riding in a car, keep the windows closed and put the air conditioner on with the vent closed to the outside. If you don’t need the air conditioner, still keep the vents closed to the outside. You want to minimize the amount of outdoor air and pollen you are bringing into the car. When riding in a car, you are exposing yourself to significantly more pollen than when you are sitting on a park bench or hanging out on your front porch. This is because the volume of air you are exposed to is higher and that volume increases as you increase your speed.
3. Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning than in the afternoon. If you like outdoor sports activities, do them in the afternoon instead of the morning. In fact, people with severe tree pollen allergy might want to consider only engaging in sporting activities indoors during the peak of the pollen season. As is the case with riding in a car, running, jogging and cycling result in particularly high pollen exposure.
4. When you come home at the end of the day, hop in the shower, rinse your hair and change your clothes. Pollen will settle on your clothes and hair and it is helpful to try to reduce the amount of pollen you are bringing into your home, and especially into your bed.
5. Do not leave clothing outside for any length of time and especially do not attempt to dry clothing outside during the pollen season if you are allergic.