As we settle in to the last official day of winter (who knew, right?), temperatures across the south have been hovering around record highs – Think 80-85 degrees. Like the high temperatures, pollen counts are also setting records, and for many allergy and asthma sufferers, all of these records mean miserable weeks ahead.
_This morning, the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic recored a pollen count of 8164. This leaves the old record, set in 1999, in the dust – figuratively in that the old record was 6013, and literally, like the greenish/yellow cloud of pollen that is currently blanketing the city.*
_From sore throats and sneezing to pain in the ears and congestion, allergy symptoms can truly make a person miserable. To combat some of the record setting pollen and allergy symptoms, there are a variety of things you can do to reduce exposure.
_First, limit your time outdoors while the pollen is the heaviest. If you must spend significant time outdoors, consider wearing at least an inexpensive dust mask if not a true allergy mask. Second, keep up with the cleaning and vacuuming. Each time your, a family member or pet comes back in, pollen is hitching a ride into your home, so it's important to keep these allergens from spreading throughout the house.
_For pets, pet wipes are handy to have in that you can quickly wipe your pet's coat and paws as they enter the house. They are a great way to prevent the pollen paw prints all over your floors. Family members and guests should be encouraged to take their shoes off at the door.
_Opening the windows is something many people enjoy, particularly during temperate spring months. This can mean letting in a lot of pollen during peak months, but to combat this, try a window filter. While they do not eliminate all particles, they allows some fresh air in while trapping most of the pollen in the outdoor air.
_Lastly, irrigate. Proper use of a neti pot or nasal irrigator can not only clear away pollen and allergens trapped in your sinuses, but they can also rinse away congestion. And nasal irrigation is not just to relieve symptoms in your nose and sinuses. Nasal irrigation can also sometimes help relieve pain in the ears that is caused by sinus pressure.
_With warm, dry weather driving pollen counts up, St. Patrick's Day isn't the only reason you'll see green. Just remember a few simple steps, and don't let seasonal allergies get you down.
_*The old pollen count record not only fell, but was crushed by over 30%. To put this into perspective…. For someone to beat Joey Chesnut's record (68) at the Nathan's hot dog eating contest by the same margin, they'd have to consume 93 hot dogs!