If you’re suffering from allergies right now, you’re definitely not alone. It’s estimated that 35 million people in the United States suffer from allergic rhinitis, hay fever, or otherwise known as seasonal allergies.
Some allergies during the spring are caused by the pine pollen being released by pines during mid to late April. Spring 2013, as announced be allergy experts, was predicted to be a severe allergy season and started 2 weeks earlier than it usually does.
Besides pine trees, some of the other trees that contribute to spring allergies are box elder, hickory, maple, oak, sycamore, poplar and cottonwood. Some varieties of grasses are also putting off spores as they come to life, such as perennial rye, Johnson grass, sweet vernal and fescue.
Pine pollen is obvious because of how large it is – you can easily spot it as a yellowish film that covers your car, which you might have to clean off of your car in the morning before you head off to work. Some other types of pollen that are flying through the air during the spring are too small to see with the naked eye, not to mention the mold spores that are also being kicked up during this season.
If you have COPD and you have an allergy to pollen, you will need to take special care in preventing your symptoms. Many people with COPD have allergies, since allergies are one of the signs that someone has a greater risk of developing this, or another chronic lung disease later in life. An irritation in your lungs caused by allergy symptoms, such as post nasal drip, can cause an exacerbation, or a COPD flare up.
Prescribed or over the counter non-drowsy allergy medicines will give you the most relief, especially if you have severe allergies to pollen and mold. You should also take other measures to prevent allergy symptoms, such as using a saline nasal spray to rinse the pollen spores from your nose and prevent dry, irritated nasal passages. Keep an eye on the pollen count in your area for each day, and try to avoid spending a lot of time outside on these days, or try to go outside mostly in the evening.
Experts say the higher pollen count and stronger spores are due to the mild winter of 2012 – 2013, as well as the hotter summer we had in 2012. The roots of plant life also got extra precipitation in the later part of winter. A combination of these environmental factors have contributed to the “turbo-charged” allergy season of 2013.
People with allergies can look forward to rainy days, when the pollen count drops because it’s being washed away and weighed down by the rain and moisture. On breezy days with no rain and low humidity, you will want to stay indoors or prevent your symptoms by taking a non-drowsy allergy medicine. Pollen counts are higher during the early morning hours.