Easing the Sneezing: Tips to Survive Pollen Season


Short of living in a bubble or moving to a different part of the country, you can’t avoid pollen — but you also don’t have to suffer.

Many poems have been written about the beauty of springtime, but it’s a good bet the poets weren’t allergy sufferers. Pollen released by trees, grasses or weeds can trigger annoying and unpleasant symptoms, making life a challenge until allergy season passes.

These tips can help you from getting sidelined due allergies:

• Watch the pollen count. Pollen counts are usually higher in the morning and on warm, dry, breezy days, and they’re at their lowest when it’s chilly and wet. Tune in to our local radio or TV weather reports for a pollen count so you can plan your day. If you enjoy walking, you may want to walk in the evening when it’s more comfortable. And if the pollen count is high, put off gardening or mowing the grass until levels are lower.

• Turn on the air. Shut the windows and use air conditioning at home and in the car. Consider buying an air-purifying device for your bedroom to help you sleep more soundly.

• Try over-the-counter (OTC) medications. OTC antihistamines can relieve itching and sneezing but some may cause drowsiness. OTC decongestants reduce nasal congestion and dry up excess mucus but may cause jitteriness or sleeplessness. Be sure to always read product labels for side effects.

• Consider prescription options. If OTC drugs don’t help, talk to your doctor about prescription drugs. Some medications are available by prescription only; others are different formulations of OTC drugs. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like cortico-steroids or bronchodilators if you begin to suffer asthma symptoms. If you’ve suffered from repeated hay fever attacks in the past, your doctor can help you avoid developing a more serious problem such as chronic sinusitis or nasal polyps.