Pollen is a fine powdery substance emitted from flowering plants during periods of pollination and is primarily dispersed by insects. This season usually lasts from February to October. While some individuals are only affected seasonally, others can be affected by pollen allergies year round. Pollen can easily travel into the home by opening windows and doors. An estimated 20% of Americans are affected by pollen allergies. Even though pollen spores are only viable, or alive for a very short time, non-viable, or dead spores still have allergenic potential.
Pollen is natural to the environment and exposure is inevitable. Due to the overwhelming amount of trees, plants, and weeds outdoors that produce many different types of pollen, for many individuals, pollen allergies can be problematic year round. It’s important not to rely on reported pollen counts as not all pollen types affect every individual the same. Similarly, not all individuals are affected by pollen. Individuals with a family history of pollen allergies and those who suffer from asthma are more likely to be affected by pollen allergies.
While impossible to eliminate this essential part of the ecosystem, there are ways to manage and reduce pollen allergy symptoms.
- Limit time spent outdoors, especially on days with high pollen counts
- Shower and wash body daily to avoid pollen collecting on hair and clothes
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible
- Use an air purifier to trap excess pollen in the home
- Check and replace air filters monthly