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Put Pollen Allergies in Their Place with Allergy 123

by in Medical Care April 11, 2019

Spring is here!

Temperatures are flirting with the 80-degree mark, the Bradford Pear trees are stinking up the neighborhood, and a near-constant stiff breeze is blowing pollen everywhere!

You’ve probably noticed that unsightly yellowish-brown layer of crud covering your car, and nearly every flat surface near trees or other flowering plants is routinely coated with something that looks like a much-worse version of snow flurries.

That same fine dust that accumulates everywhere is not just an eyesore, it’s in your eyes (and nose, and throat, and lungs). If you’re not sniffling and sneezing right now, consider yourself lucky, but even if you’re immune to the current mix of allergens in the air, you probably know someone who isn’t.

Knoxville is regularly ranked in the top 10 cities for spring allergies, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America research that measured factors like overall pollen levels, the amount of people taking allergy medications and the number of certified allergists per patient.

Types of Pollen

Many varieties of plants reproduce in the spring via pollination. Windy conditions and dry climate can result in pollen spreading miles from its source— leaving a trail of sneezes and sniffles in its wake.

Pollen allergies are specific to a certain type of plant. You may be allergic to the pollen of a certain tree, but not to the pollen of another flower or plant. You may be allergic to several types of pollen, but immune to others.

That’s the reason you can take many “pollen forecasts” you may see in the media with a grain of salt. If you are not allergic to the particular mix of pollens in the air, a high pollen count shouldn’t affect you. On the other hand, the “pollen count” may be low, but if the wrong tree is blooming around the corner, you may still go through a box of tissues per day!

Pollen.com offers a detailed pollen forecast by ZIP code that measures levels of specific types of pollen in the environment. If you know which pollen allergens cause you the most trouble, this tool can help you plan strategies to cope on those dry, windy spring days.

Pollen Avoidance

Avoidance may be an effective strategy for pollen allergies, but it is not always a practical one. 

Three practical avoidance steps are to:

  1. Minimize time outside (or wear breathing and eye protection if you have to spend an extended period of time outdoors)
  2. Filter air as it comes into your house (look for a HEPA filter for your HVAC system), and as it circulates around your house (look for a HEPA air purifier).
  3. Take frequent showers and wash clothes that may have been exposed to pollen.

Pollen Allergy Treatment

Simple, short-term cases of pollen allergy can often be treated by over-the-counter antihistamines, but if your allergies are regularly interfering with your quality of life, a more advanced solution may be required.

Prescription drugs for allergy symptoms are available, and can be effective, but also come with side effects such as dry mouth, fatigue and nausea and other drawbacks to long-term use.

Getting Tested and Getting Rid of Pollen Allergies

We offer testing and at-home immunotherapy treatments from Allergy 123. The testing component is a simple in-office scratch test that is covered by most insurance providers. Results are usually available just a few minutes after the test is administered.

If you are a good candidate for an immunotherapy treatment, our specially-trained nurse practitioners will oversee your first treatment in our office to make sure you are comfortable with the procedure and are not having any reaction to the treatment. Subsequent doses are self-administered at home according to a schedule provided by your practitioner.

Got questions about pollen or other allergies? Need to schedule an appointment for allergy testing?

Call us today at 865-769-9685!

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