Here’s everything you need to know about pollen allergies, symptoms, and treatment options.
More than 67 million Americans, and even more people across the globe, consider allergies to be a part and parcel of their daily lives. Though there are a number of seasonal allergies that can drastically reduce the quality of your life, pollen allergies are the most common. Affecting 9 percent of children, and 7 percent of adults in the US, pollen allergies are caused by plant pollen. Pollen allergy also goes by the names of hay fever and seasonal allergic rhinitis. What exactly is it, and how can you get effective treatment for the same?
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), “an allergic reaction is a specific response of the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance called an allergen. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one allergen. In addition to pollen, other airborne allergens that can cause allergic reactions include materials from house dust mites, animal dander, and cockroaches.”
Pollen is the fine powdery substance that is released by the male part of flowers. Generally yellow in color, pollen contains the male microgametophytes of seed plants that are used to fertilize the female plant ovule. Fertilization takes place by transportation of this pollen from male to female plants via wind, animals, insects, etc. People who are allergic to pollen display a number of symptoms, especially when the pollen count is high.
Pollen count is basically the amount of pollen that is in the air. You may have heard allergy experts and local weather broadcasts talking about high pollen counts, pollen indexes, pollen vortex or tsunamis. In general, pollen counts tend to be higher on warm and dry days, particularly during early mornings. If you or your loved ones are allergic to pollen, and hear about a high pollen count in your environment, it may be best to stay indoors and behind closed windows on those days.
People with pollen allergies generally manifest symptoms during the period when the pollen that they are allergic to is in the air. For example, those allergic to grass pollen in America generally manifest symptoms during the spring season when grass pollen proliferates in the air. Common symptoms of pollen allergies are watery eyes and runny noses. Other symptoms that may be caused by allergy to pollen include:
However, it is important to note that these symptoms may also be caused by common cold or the rhinovirus. So how do you differentiate between the two? Symptoms that last more than two weeks generally indicate an allergy, while symptoms coupled with fever are in all likelihood caused by cold.
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