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Q97 Snapshot: Reclaim Your Spring

04/22/2016 01:45PM ● Published by Patrick John

May 2016

By Patrick John


It’s truly gorgeous outside today.  A few clouds dot the sky, the thermometer reads a perfect 75 degrees and a breeze has the trees swaying ever so meagerly.  Tulips, roses, daffodils and peonies are miniature explosions of color throughout the backyard, and the dogs are lazily napping in some deep green, almost-needs-to-be-mowed lawn.  And I’m INDOORS, peering through window glass that’s lightly coated with yellowish powder.  Allergies really know how to kill the mood, and we are in the thick of it.

I have my nasal allergy inhaler in one hand, and a box of Kleenex in the other.  You may be, or have in your family, one of the more than 50 million Americans allergic to pollen.  Today’s culprits are oak, mulberry and ash trees.  We’ll throw in some grasses for good measure, too. The Pollen.com scale goes to 12, and today is a 10.4. We happen to live in an area where multiple pollen counts are high for extended periods of time.

The joke for those new to the area is that even if you don’t have pollen allergies when you move to Northern California, you’ll have them soon enough.  So what’s the best way to treat these allergies? I’ve had the yearly shot, take a daily allergy pill and use an inhaler.  These all work, but everybody’s response is different. Allergist, pollen.com, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America have some really simple, common-sense tips on how to minimize the effects of pollen allergies.

1) If possible, keep house windows and car windows closed on days with high
pollen counts.

2) Don’t dry clothes or bedding outdoors on a line.

3) Shower at night to keep pollen in your hair or on your body from transferring
to bedding.

4) Change your pillowcase three times per week during allergy seasons.

5) Avoid the outdoors on dry, windy days.

6) Rinse your window screens once a week to cut pollen buildup.

7) Wear your sunglasses every time you are outdoors, and don’t rub your eyes.

8) Replace your home HVAC filter more often, and purchase a higher quality/
premium filter with a MERV rating of 13 or higher, or an ERP of 1000 or
higher (depends on brand).

9) Check the local pollen count or forecast daily and plan accordingly – Pollen.com
is super easy to use.

10) Head to the doctor to see about shots or other prescription allergy  medications.

If you want to go the homeopathic or herbal route, green, chamomile, ginger or peppermint teas are all remedies for hay fever.  Some folks swear by acupuncture to relieve allergy suffering, and others say you need a spoonful of local honey everyday to gradually de-sensitize to local pollen.  If you don’t mind the mildest form of water-boarding, you can try a nasal cleanse with a saline solution in a Neti pot.  As always, consult your doctor first!  

OK… two sprays in each nostril, a 24-hour allergy pill kickin’ in, and I’m ready to take on the backyard.  Good thing, too – there’s a hyped up German Shepherd and a bucket of tennis balls waiting for me…


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