Got Seasonal Allergies?
Exposure to pollen that comes from grass, weeds, trees, and plants can trigger allergic reactions in us. These allergic reactions may cause symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes and nasal congestion (also called allergic rhinitis). In some cases, pollen can trigger asthma attacks in those who have asthma.
Pollen exposure can cause havoc on your body during the warmer months when pollen grains are dispersed from the nature around us and into the air we breathe.
Pollen is a fine powder made by some reproducing plants. It is released into the air during the spring, summer, and fall and is carried by the wind. Inside pollen are proteins that often cause people who breathe them in to have allergic reactions, like sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes. Pollen from grasses, trees and weeds are most often the ones responsible for causing allergies.
The pollen count is available every weekday starting in February or March, and ends after the first heavy frost.
Today's pollen count
Historical pollen levels
|0, Absent||0, Absent||0, Absent||0, Absent|
|1-6,499, Low||1-4, Low||1-14, Low||1-9, Low|
|6,500-12,999, Moderate||5-19, Moderate||15-89, Moderate||10-49, Moderate|
|13,000-49,999, High||20-199, High||90-1,499, High||50-499, High|
|>50,000, Very high||>200, Very high||>1,500, Very high||>500, Very high|
Managing Your Allergies
What can we do about our allergies? Here are a few simple steps you can take to help with seasonal allergies which thrive during the warmer months:
- Check the pollen count daily. Springfield-Greene County Health releases the daily pollen count in the morning for our area here, so you can see what is high, moderate or low.
- Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to determine whether outdoor activities may not be ideal for you that day. If you can, limiting activities when the air quality is poor is the best option.
- Take any allergy and/or asthma medications as prescribed by your health care provider.
- Change your clothes after being outdoors.
- Shut your windows during pollen season.
- Avoid touching your eyes while outside.
- Wash your hands when you get back inside before touching your eyes.
- Take a shower after being outside – this removes pollen from the skin and hair.
- Consider using high-efficiency filters in your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
If your symptoms do not improve after taking these measures, consider seeing an allergist, who can do more detailed testing to diagnose what specific triggers a person is allergic to, and can prescribe additional medications to help control symptoms.
Climate change has the potential to impact pollen levels, by causing shifts in precipitation patterns, less frost, warmer seasonal air temperatures, and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
What does that have to do with pollen? Well, these changes in our climate then affect when the pollen season starts and ends, the duration of a pollen season, how much pollen plants create and how much is in the air, and our risk of experiencing allergy symptoms. Having higher exposure to pollen can increase your risk of having allergy and/or asthma symptoms.