Most people welcome warm temperatures, especially after months of harsh cold weather. For people with allergies, however, an early spring can spell misery. If you have a sensitivity to pollen, the following forecast may worry you.
High Pollen Counts
The eastern part of the United States is expected to see a prolonged spring pollen season, according to the weather forecasting website AccuWeather. Meteorologists say early-arriving warm air gave plants a chance to start growing in February. In turn, the pollen season got a 10- to 20-day head start in certain parts of the east coast.
According to the National Allergy Bureau, the southeast is already struggling with high levels of tree pollen. That said, the uptick isn’t just limited to this region. Pennsylvania is also reporting high pollen concentrations, and other northeastern communities are expected to see similar issues.
Preparing for Pollen
Also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, seasonal allergies can cause all sorts of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Itchy eyes, nose and roof of mouth
- Stuffy, runny nose
- Swollen, red, watery eyes
You can reduce your symptoms during peak pollen times by:
- Staying indoors and closing windows on windy, dry days
- Removing outdoor clothing the moment you come inside
- Avoid hanging laundry outside
- Wearing a pollen mask while doing outdoor chores
- Using a HEPA filter to keep indoor air clean
- Using a cold compress for itchy or swollen eyes
- Benadryl and over-the-counter steroid nose sprays
For severe itching from allergic conjunctivitis, patients may need over-the-counter or prescription medication; over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can also relieve symptoms for many people. If these provide little to no relief, a doctor may be able to recommend other natural or medicinal treatments to help reduce your immune system reaction to allergens.