The onset of the spring season brings more than mild weather. For allergy sufferers, spring heralds the arrival of tree pollen season. In our area, trees generally start to pollinate in the early spring. However, not every tree is responsible for the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes you may feel at this time of year. Some trees have heavier pollen that is designed to be carried by insects. Others have lighter pollen that is easily carried by wind. It is these wind-pollinated trees that have the potential to cause allergy symptoms. Due to the height of trees, the pollen can spread farther than that of other plants. Tree pollen that is caught in a gust of wind can travel for miles, making it possible to fertilize trees a considerable distance away. Rain impairs the travel of pollen and can also dampen pollen still on the tree, making it too heavy to travel.
Generally, trees release pollen early in the morning around dawn and pollen counts near the source will be highest in the morning. Avoid outdoor activities, especially between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Because tree pollen travels freely on warm, dry, windy days, pollen levels can often peak at the middle of the day. Here are some other tips to minimize exposure to tree pollen:
- Keep windows and doors closed in both your home and vehicle. Use air conditioning if available.
- Avoid using window or attic fans.
- Do not dry clothes outdoors. Pollen will stick to them.
- Change your clothing when you come indoors. Showering after spending time outdoors will remove pollen from your person and avoid spreading it through your home.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors to help protect your eyes from pollen.
- Be aware that pets can bring in pollen on their fur. Don’t allow pets that spend time outdoors in your bedroom.
At Allergy & Clinical Immunology, we test for a large variety of tree pollens. To find out if you have tree pollen allergy and to learn more about how to manage your allergies, make an appointment at one of our two locations today!