According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), 35 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies triggered by airborne pollens and mold spores. Seasonal allergy products like allergy masks, sinus irrigation systems,window filters, air purifiers, HEPA vacuum cleaners, cleaning products, and allergy bedding will help you avoid exposure to allergens, pollen, and mold spores.
Helpful Information on Seasonal Allergies
|Understanding the Pollen Count||Preparing for Ragweed Season||Dehumidifier Buying Guide|
|Air Purifier Buying Guide||Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide||Allergy Relief Bedding Buying Guide|
When most people think of "seasonal allergies," they think of pollen; however, mold spores can cause seasonal allergic rhinitis (also known as "hay fever"). Molds are not plants; they're fungi related to mushrooms. While molds don't have specific "blooming" seasons, the number of mold spores in the air is affected by weather conditions like temperature, wind, rain, and humidity. Mold populations peak during the warm, humid summer months and often maintain high numbers of spores throughout the fall. Pollen grains, on the other hand, have specific times of pollination, depending on the plant from which they originate. Cedar pollen effects the U.S. southwest mainly during the winter months while at this same time of the year, seasonal allergies for the rest of the U.S. are typically low. Regardless of whether the allergen is mold spores or pollen, each year bring seasonal high and lows for people with allergies.
Pollen grains are actually microscopic protective sacks that carry male gametes, which are necessary for plant fertilization. During pollination, the male gametes are transferred to female plants. Different plants have different methods of pollination. Entomophilous ("insect-loving") plants rely on insects like bees to transfer the pollen from male to female plants, while anemophilous ("wind-loving") plants rely on the wind to disperse pollen. These wind-loving plants cause problems for allergy sufferers because their pollen grains are extremely lightweight, airborne particles. Pollen from bright flowers normally doesn't cause problems for allergy sufferers because it's too heavy to remain airborne.
Different plants have different times for pollination. Trees like oak, elm, poplar, and maple trigger seasonal allergies in the early spring. Grasses like Bermuda, orchard, and timothy trigger seasonal allergies in the late spring and early summer. And then there's ragweed, the most despised plant of all for many allergy sufferers. "Ragweed" actually refers to several plant species in the sunflower family. Ragweed pollinates from mid-August through October. Each ragweed plant produces approximately a billion allergenic pollen grains per season, and these grains can travel up to 400 miles away from the plant because of their extremely light weight! For more information about ragweed, see our article Preparing for Ragweed Season.
Microscopic mold spores float in the air just like pollen grains. Although they're present year-round, they peak during the summer and fall. Common airborne molds (both indoors and outdoors) include alternaria, cladosporium, and aspergillus. See our Picture Gallery of Common Household Molds to learn more about these and other molds. If you have a mold allergy that lasts all year or problems with mildew in your home, see our Mold and Mildew Solution Guide.
Pollen counts and mold counts measure the amount of allergens in the air. A pollen count, for instance, tells us how much pollen collects in a
certain amount of air over a certain period of time. A pollen forecast predicts future levels of airborne pollen. Pollen forecasts help allergy sufferers plan their outdoor activities and medication regimens. To learn more about pollen counts and to see your local four day pollen forecast, see our article Understanding Pollen Counts.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms & Treatment
Common symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis include congestion, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and itchiness of the nose, mouth, throat, eyes, or ears.
Allergen avoidance is always the best treatment for allergies. Avoid the particles that make you sick, and you'll feel better. To avoid seasonal allergens, limit outdoor activity when pollen counts or mold counts are high. When you go outdoors during your particular season of sensitivity, shower and change your clothes afterwards because pollen grains and mold spores stick to clothing, skin, and hair. Pets can also carry pollen and mold. Avoid early morning outdoor activity (because that's when pollen is emitted). When you have to work outdoors (especially if you're raking or mowing the lawn), wear an allergy masks to avoid inhaling dust, pollen, and mold.
Unfortunately, outdoor allergens don't stay outdoors. Keep windows closed or use window filters to keep allergens from floating inside. Don't hang clothes outside to dry because allergens will stick to them. Use Allergen Wash to remove allergens from your laundry in any water temperature. Air purifiers, furnace filters, and HEPA vacuum cleaners will keep your indoor air free of allergens. Allergy relief bedding protects you from mold, dust, and other allergens while you sleep. Nasal irrigators, neti pots, and saline mists help restore moisture and wash allergens out of irritated nasal and sinus passages.
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