Tips on how to survive the pollen heavy allergy season
By now you've probably seen the video out of Cumberland County of a massive amount of pollen bursting from a tree. It's just one of the signs of a what's been a very impactful allergy season.
This allergy season has been so bad, people who normally aren't affected are getting sick.
"People without normal seasonal allergies can have some sort of allergic reaction, whether it's just a runny nose or stuffy nose or itchy eyes, especially when the pollen count is really high,"Dr. Christina Lusk-Caceres, family medicine physician, with Hackensack-Meridian Health said.
The peak of tree pollen season is here and while grass pollen season lingers on, a little rain always helps clear the air.
"When it rains, it helps those with pollen allergies because it brings all that pollen down to the ground, so it's no longer in the air to really breathe in," Caceres said.
Stuffy nose, headaches, itchy/watery eyes. It's all normal symptoms that have magnified for many people during this allergy season, but how can you tell whether your allergies are flaring up or if you're getting sick?
"For true infections, whether it's viral or bacterial, you tend to have possibly a fever, really bad headaches, severe stuffiness and discomfort in the sinuses, chills and sweats," Caceres said.
She adds that if it's more than just a stuffy nose, you should make an appointment with an Allergist or your PCP.
We're only in mid-May, so the seasonal allergies aren't going away anytime soon but there are things you can to keep them under control.
No matter where you are or what you're doing, the pollen and your seasonal allergies are right there with you.
When the symptoms flare up, Caceres has a few remedies to clear things up.
"A saline nasal spray, which is just salt-water is always good to use to clean our the nose and clean out the pollen that you're breathing in," Caceres said. "If you're outside, once you come inside it's always a good idea to take a shower."
Taking a shower and washing your clothes cleans off the excess pollen left behind.
You can take an over the counter antihistamine or a regular nasal spray as well but before doing anything Caceres encourages you to check in with an allergist or your PCP first.
There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh air on a clear-sunny day at the Jersey Shore.
But then your allergies enter attack mode backed up with a heavy dose of pollen filtering the air.
So how can you prevent the allergies from flaring up?
"If you're going to go sit on your porch and notice there's a lot of pollen on the chairs or the table, wash it off first so you're not breathing it in," Caceres said.
Caceres says fresh air is very helpful on one hand but being outside could also trigger some allergies.
Best advice, limit outdoor activity, especially when the pollen count is high.
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