Five Ways to Effectively Treat Allergies as Pollen Counts Rise

You may think you’re imagining things, but you’re really not — your allergies are getting worse and there’s a scientific explanation for it. A 2021 study found that pollen season has increased by an average of 28 days. Compared to 1990, pollen season now starts off 20 days earlier and lasts about eight days longer. The “best” part? Grasses, plants, and trees now spew around 21% more pollen in the air than they did three decades ago. As a result, your nose gets runnier and your sneezes intensify, among other things. Here are five ways to manage that, head-on:

Woman with a pollen allergy
1. Treat Allergies Early in the Season

Purvi Parikh, M.D., a medical director at Allergy and Asthma Network in NYC, advises that you start taking your allergy medications a few weeks before you normally start to experience symptoms. This will help stabilize your immune system by keeping it from getting overly aroused, instead of trying to calm it down once the allergy has been “activated.” To determine the best time to start treating your allergies, it’s best to consult with your allergist.

2. Consider Wearing a Face Mask

Wearing a face mask to protect from inhaling pollen is actually a good preventive measure to decrease your allergy symptoms. For example, if you love gardening or taking care of the landscape on your property, consider wearing a face mask while tending to your plants. If you’ll be going to a place with extra vegetation, put on a mask then, as well. Those who have particularly acute allergies need to take all preemptive measures!

3. Reduce Indoor Allergens

An air purifier at home
Breathing in pollen, dander, mold, and dust mites is a sure recipe for disaster. After all, your nasal passages can only handle so much. To reduce the stress on your nasal passages and allergy symptoms, look into eradicating the allergens in your home. That means vacuuming your carpets frequently, zipping up mattresses and box springs with dust mite covers, getting an air purifier, and keeping the windows closed, especially when it’s allergy season outside.

4. Keep Track of the Pollen Count

Much like you check the weather before you go out, you can make a habit of checking the pollen count. You can do it on platforms like The Weather Channel or for the latest pollen data. If there’s a high pollen rating, it’s advisable to move the outdoor activities indoors or at least try to go out outside of peak pollen release times. These are typically between 5 – 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. till dusk.

5. Don’t Forget About Fall Allergies

A person with a pollen allergy in the fall
Allergist Donald Dvorin, M.D. says that pollen’s peak season can extend even until Halloween. This can lead to microparticles of pollen still lingering in the air well into winter and inducing off-season symptoms. Suppress your allergic flare-ups in the same way you would in spring and summertime, and boost your immune system.