Several types of pollen cause mild to severe seasonal respiratory allergy, including allergic rhinitis and asthma.
But helpful defenses are available, according to researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Ragweed and other weeds, like curly dock, lambs quarters, pigweed, plantain, sheep sorrel and sagebrush, are prolific producers of pollen allergens. Ragweed season runs from August to November, but pollen levels usually peak by mid-September in many areas in the country. Pollen counts are highest in the morning, and on dry, hot, windy days.
- Between 5 and 10 a.m., stay indoors. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
- Keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen. Keep cool with air conditioners. Don’t use window or attic fans.
- Use a dryer, not a line outside; dry your clothes and avoid collecting pollen on them.
Grass pollens are regional as well as seasonal. Their levels also are affected by temperature, time of day, and rain. Only a small percentage of North America’s 1,200 grass species cause allergies, including:
- Bermuda grass.
- Johnson grass.
- Kentucky bluegrass.
- Sweet vernal grass.
- Timothy grass.
- Orchard grass.
- Have someone else mow your lawn. If you mow, wear a mask.
- Keep grass short.
- Grow ground covers that don’t produce much pollen, such as moss.
- Treat respiratory allergy with antihistamines, topical nasal steroids, cromolyn sodium, decongestants, or immunotherapy.
- Use an air purifier with high efficiency air filters (HEPA) or an electrostatic air filter.
Trees produce pollen earliest, as soon as January in the South, and as late as May and June in the Northeast. They release huge amounts that can be distributed miles away. Fewer than 100 kinds of trees cause allergies. Some common ones are catalpa, elm, hickory, sycamore and walnut.
Plant species that do not aggravate allergies, such as crape myrtle, dogwood, fig, fir, palm, pear, plum, redbud and redwood trees, or the female cultivars of ash, box elder, cottonwood, maple, palm, poplar or willow trees.
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
- Here’s What Happens When the Sneezing Season Arrives
- Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Seasonal Allergies
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. Every dollar donated allows us to remain a free and accessible public service. What story will you help make possible?