Here's something you can sneeze about. Pollen counts (and allergic reactions) throughout the U.S. are climbing. In 2000, pollen counts averaged 8,455; they climb every year and are projected to reach 21,735 by 2040 (more than double the pollen of 2012).
“Economic growth, global environment sustainability, temperature and human-induced changes, such as increased levels of carbon dioxide, are all responsible for the influx that will continue to be seen,” allergist Leonard Bielory, M.D., told a recent gathering of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
For allergy sufferers looking to combat seasonal symptoms, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggests:
• Know your triggers. You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well. Mold, grass, pet dander and dust mites are common triggers of allergic reactions.
• More than two-thirds of seasonal allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms. An allergist can help you find the source of your suffering and treat more than just symptoms.
• Monitor pollen and mold counts—most media report this information during allergy seasons. (Pollen counts peak in April across most of North America.)
• Keep windows and doors shut at home, and in your car during allergy season.
• Stay indoors on windy days when outdoor allergens are prevalent.
• Stay inside during midday and afternoon hours when pollen counts are highest.
• Take a shower, wash hair and change clothing after being outdoors working or playing.
• Wear a mask when doing outdoor chores like mowing the lawn. An allergist can help you find the type of mask that works best.