Avoiding Tree Pollen During Allergy Season
Seeing the cold and dreary winter turn into the spring is almost always an uplifting experience. The spring is a time of warm relief from the nipping cold, so it is always something to look forward to after a tough few months. Unfortunately however, this also means that you have to deal with all the ridiculous amounts of pollen that are coming out of blooming plants.
During this time, we are constantly barraged with ads and commercials about how certain medications and over-the-counter antihistamines will apparently solve all of our problems. Sometimes they can for a short while, but most of the time they cause a whole new set of problematic symptoms that we recognize as side effects. This causes an entirely new issue, which seems counterproductive if you think about it. Getting rid of the symptoms we are experiencing was the intention in the first place.
I started writing for this site so that I could help allergy sufferers like myself actually understand what allergies are. I think that people should realize that there actually are ways to treat and cure the root causes of your allergies like I did. I hoped that I could spread awareness and help people live a drug-free and beautifully-feeling life with me.
Instead of constantly masking the symptoms with artificial antihistamines, which you can become addicted to, we could try to figure out and treat the root causes of them. I believe that the first step towards healing allergies, food and seasonal, is to avoid the trigger that is causing the symptoms in the first place. This is what has worked for me. Here are some useful tips on how you can avoid pollen during the spring allergy season.
Spring is Tree Pollen Allergy Season
Most springtime allergy sufferers do not even know exactly what type of pollen or plant it is that they are reacting to. In the case for spring, this season represents the biological time of the year that trees and flowers spread their pollen with hopes to reproduce.
Typically, humans are not overly sensitive to the pollen of flowers. If we were, it still would not make much of a difference because the amount of pollen produced is such a small amount. It is miniscule in comparison to the amount that trees produce, which makes them the real culprits of ruining the spring time for some people.
Some tree species produce massive amounts of pollen starting from the end of February until as late as the beginning of May. The ways that trees reproduce in nature is a little bit perplexing. Since they don’t move, they have to rely on the wind to blow their reproductive juices around to precisely the correct spot.
Basically, the male trees produce the pollen (which is equivalent to their sperm), and it is released into the wind so that, hopefully, it lands on the correct spot of a female tree. That spot is going to be the female tree’s ovary, which can also be recognized as their flower.
Once the small pollen grain reaches inside the flower due to the random chance of it being carried there by the wind, tree fertilization starts to occur. Then, a fruit develops from the flower and this can be considered the egg of the tree. Once fully developed, it drops off to spread its seeds into a new tree or the fruit hopes to be eaten so that its seeds are “excreted” with some essential nutrients to grow healthily with. Yep, the fruits that you love to eat are actually reproductive products between male and female trees falling in love. They have manipulated their egg with billions of years of evolution to be delicious so that you eat it and spread their seeds for evolutionary success.
It is about a one in a trillion chance for one single pollen grain to be released into the wind to reach precisely the right spot on a flower. As you could probably already deduce, most of the pollen ends up in places where it doesn’t belong, like on your car or up your nose. That’s why trees produce billions of little pollen grains, or tree sperm cells, to increase the chances that it will land on a hot local female tree.
The worst part about this entire experience? That exposure to these pollen grains triggers an inappropriate immune response in some people, causing inflammation for no reason. What a huge bummer during the season of warm renewal and vibrant color.
Why Does Tree Pollen Cause Allergies? Biological Explanation:
If you think about it, experiencing these allergy symptoms when pollen comes in contact with your mucous membranes doesn’t make much sense biologically. There is absolutely no benefit to survival by having your immune system overreact like this to something so harmless. It’s not like trees are out to get you because they really haven’t paid humans any mind during evolution like they would have to with tree parasites and harmful microorganisms. In fact, trees kind of like humans because we eat their fruit and spread their seeds to improve their gene pool.
The reason why some people are allergic to tree pollen is simply due to a biological accident. It was an unfortunate coincidence.
The fact of the matter is that your body mistakes birch tree pollen for a deadly invader that could be potentially harmful to your health. However, that is obviously not the real case. It’s just an innocent natural particle passing through and it doesn’t mean to do anything destructive.
Researchers don’t seem entirely sure why exactly the chemical structure of pollen causes allergic reactions. Maybe there is no answer at all. Perhaps seasonal allergies are proof that nature and evolution are not perfect, just like cancer. There were plenty of mistakes along the way until we reached this point in time and I am sure that there are more to come.
Some Ways to Avoid Tree Pollen During the Spring
The best way to avoid tree pollen during the spring allergy season is to avoid exposure to the source as best you can. The type of tree that produces the highest quantity and most allergenic kind of pollen is the birch tree. Birch is commonly found throughout the United States, but especially on the east coast. It is also prevalent through western European countries.
If you have tree pollen issues, you should make yourself aware of what a birch tree looks like and make sure that you keep clear of any that are near your house or workplace. If you do recognize one from nearby where you live, you can try your best to take a different route on your run just in case.
In reality, can we really avoid birch pollen if it is such a prevalent species? Plus doesn’t it produce like trillions of individual pollen grains?
Realistically, taking a different route on your run is not going to completely stop exposure to the pollen. You are still going to come into contact with allergic pollen from afar. After all, the wind could blow pollen from hundreds of miles away. The best thing that you can do is to make those small changes that can add up together and really make a difference in improving your uncomfortable symptoms during the spring allergy season.
Keep Track of Pollen Counts Easily
Thankfully, we live in an age where technology makes very difficult tasks much easier. We can easily monitor the current pollen levels in our area by checking an application that displays the results of local weather organizations’ efforts to track it. This was so nice and convenient of them to do, right?
Well, we should take advantage of it during the allergy season. You can choose from a multitude of apps on your phone to monitor pollen levels or go to pollen.com here to use their highly accurate system. This site is recommended by many medical professionals and its users seem to have an appreciation for it.
Some of these applications can get into detail for more of your benefit. You can choose to display pollen counts from different sources like birch, elm, spruce, flowers, grass, weeds, and other airborne allergens like mold and dust. You can even change the settings so that it sends you notifications about when a particular allergen is in high quantities in the air.
Check the pollen count in the morning before you go outside. That way, you’ll know if you will need to prepare for the high pollen risk. Then, you can bring emergency antihistamines, pack extra water or even a face mask to prepare for those high pollen days. It’s much better than being stuck in an allergy fog all day, right?
Avoid Going Outside in the Middle of the Day
Levels of pollen in the wind fluctuate throughout different times of the day. You might notice that you sneeze less during the night time when the pollen levels in the air are at their lowest. On those ridiculous pollen count days, the night time is definitely going to be the best time to go outside if you have to.
The worst time to go outside on these days is the middle of the day around noon when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. At this point in the day, the sun’s rays are its strongest. Therefore, photosynthesis is going to be faster at this point. Along with other natural triggers, pollinating plants release more pollen grains into the air when the sun’s rays are strongest during the day. This is also true for cloudy days as well, but less pollen will generally be present in the wind.
Take Showers at Night and Wear Fresh Clothes in the Morning
During the day, your skin and hair will collect an abundance of allergenic pollen even if you can’t see it or feel it. The same is true for your clothes. Pollen grains are extremely small, but their presence on your clothes and hair can still trigger inflammatory immune reactions.
It is best to take a shower at night before you go to bed so that you wash off all the pollen that you collected during the day. You can slip into your comfy pajamas and rest easily without exposing your body to the leftover residue of the pollen. This will let you get the most rejuvenating sleep because your body won’t be overreacting during the night, which might disturb the quality of your rest.
You can also wash your clothes at night and make sure that you put on a fresh set of clothes each morning so that you can start new before you expose yourself to pollen again. This time, you can try even harder to avoid pollen so that it doesn’t collect as much as it did yesterday.
It’s also a good idea to wash your bed sheets more often during the season. Pollen residues can collect over time.
If you find yourself sneezing during or after showers, here’s why that happens.
Use a HEPA Air Filter to Capture Pollen
Using an air purifier in your home is an excellent choice and long-term investment for your family’s health and allergies. These devices have the ability to filter out airborne particles that are floating around in your home. It can eliminate mold spores, dust and seasonal pollen that can cause allergy symptoms indoors.
To make sure that your air purifier is actually doing an effective job as advertised, make sure that it is labeled as a HEPA air filter for allergies. The HEPA purification system is designed to capture small particles, specifically small allergens like the ones we are talking about. This type of air purifier should be what seasonal allergy sufferers are looking for. Any other type of air filter will likely just be ionizing the air, rather than actually eliminating harmful particles to make the indoor air healthier.
Here is a great HEPA air filter that I got on Amazon. Check the price it’s at now because sometimes it’s on sale. It has significantly improved the air quality of my bedroom and now I sleep much better without breathing in hidden allergens, dust, mold spores and airborne microbes. I really recommend one if you don’t have an air purifier in your house. It’s such a life saver during the allergy seasons.
Use Nasal Irrigation to Flush Your Sinuses of Lingering Pollen
When you are going about your everyday activities and the pollen counts are very high, if you breathe through your nose, pollen residues can collect in your sinuses. If mucus isn’t able to do an effective job at eliminating the pollen, the residues could linger and cause increased amounts of inflammation from your immune system. That’s why you feel so stuffy and foggy.
You can assist your body’s immune system naturally by making use of nasal irrigation. This involves the ancient process of pouring warm water or saline solution through one nostril and out the other. That way, the water will push out excess pollen, dust and congestion so your sinuses and nasal passageways can be moist and clear.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies and congestion is a troublesome symptom for you, definitely try this technique out. An ancient remedy uses the neti pot for congestion and allergies, which is like a little teapot with a spout specifically designed to flush your nasal passageways.
When you use a neti pot at first, you might be a little bit anxious. You need to resist the urge to breathe while you are pouring the water through, but that’s basically the only minor challenge. After you get the hang of it, the process is very liberating and makes you feel amazing during high pollen count days. If you are a beginner, you could try a saline nasal spray designed for this purpose, but without the risk of choking on water if you accidentally inhale.
Bottom Line for Avoiding Tree Pollen
If you suffer from allergies during the spring time and you find yourself wishing that it were winter again, don’t be discouraged. Preferring natural methods to relieving your seasonal allergy symptoms rather than using over-the-counter drugs and antihistamines is perfectly fine, maybe even a good long-term decision. But you’ll need to reduce your pollen exposure. Hopefully these tips will set you off with a few foundational perspectives about how to be innovative in avoiding tree pollen this spring allergy season.
If you have a question about seasonal allergies or something helpful you would like to add, please leave me a comment with the form below!
Talk to you soon,