What blooms in may allergies
How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap. The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any 24-hour period. That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.
A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope.
It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S. states.
Tests & diagnosis
A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive.
[7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]
Blood tests for allergies are also available.
This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Hay fever treatments
Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.
Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom.
Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.
Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips. [7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]
Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body.
Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.
Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source. Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.
For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A 2017 nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.
Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.
Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.
People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.
Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A 2015 review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.
[5 Myths About Probiotics]
This article was updated on April 30, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.
When spring arrives, it brings luscious blooms, green grass and bright blue skies. But as unused flowers emerge from the ground, those with seasonal allergies head back indoors. Basking in the sun is simply not worth the risk of the sneezing, itching and coughing that accompanies pollen allergies. Allergies prevent people from fully enjoying the outdoors, and those with severe pollen allergies may even hesitate to bring cut flowers into their homes.
Luckily, with the correct knowledge, you can discover beautiful blooms that won’t make you sneeze.
Numerous flower varieties do not irritate pollen allergies, so you can brighten your home with them while avoiding discomfort. Read on for a guide to the best and worst flowers for pollen allergies and how to select the perfect bouquet for your home.
What Are Pollen Allergies?
Pollen is an essential part of a functioning ecosystem, as it allows flowers and other plants to reproduce. For those with allergies, it can be a major annoyance. When fine pollen powder is stirred into the air and inhaled, those with pollen allergies experience an adverse reaction. Their bodies treat the harmless pollen love a foreign invader and produce histamine to fight back.
This immune response is what causes the uncomfortable symptoms associated with pollen allergies.
Pollen allergies are one of the most common allergies, with more than 25 million Americans affected. Most people experience pollen allergies seasonally — when plants are in bloom — in the spring, summer or drop. This issue is commonly known as “hay fever.”
Those with more severe allergies may experience them year-round. Common symptoms of pollen allergies include a runny or stuffy nose, watery and itchy eyes, an itchy throat and coughing. A person with a pollen allergy may also be more allergic to a specific type of pollen, such as tree pollen, grass pollen or ragweed pollen.
Even during heavy-pollen seasons, the quantity of pollen in the air varies from day to day.
Dry, warm and windy days tend to own higher pollen counts, leading to more severe allergic reactions. Pollen is less likely to become airborne on wet, rainy and cool days, meaning allergy sufferers are safe to roam outdoors. The daily weather report will often list the pollen count during spring, summer and fall.
Why Do Flowers Irritate Allergies?
Any plant that produces pollen poses a threat for an allergy sufferer.
Trees, grasses and ragweed are the most common causes of pollen allergies, but flower pollen can also cause irritation, particularly in the spring and summer. Flowers with extremely light pollen that can be easily stirred up by the breeze are more likely to irritate allergies.
Some flowers produce more pollen than others, which also makes them more likely to cause allergic reactions. When flowers are brought inside, pollen can become more concentrated in the smaller area and produce an even more severe reaction.
For most people, it’s the pollen itself that causes an allergic reaction, but for others, the strong perfume of some flowers can cause adverse effects love headaches.
The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants. As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.
Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass.
Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.
The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne.
Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.
Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight. During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing.
But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.
Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]
Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders.
The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.
People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.
Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»
Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions.
People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said. But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.