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A flower with pollen

Gunk of the Month: April

Gunk of the Month: April Flowers bring POLLEN!

Each month on our blog, we’ll be profiling a common “gunk” found in the air in and outside our home, and how you can protect yourself. As we enter the spring season, our first spotlight will be on a culprit many of us are all too familiar with: pollen.

While pollen floats through the air most of the summer, April is really when levels start to kick up as flowers, trees and other plants begin to bloom (and when allergy ads begin to hit the TV). While some see flowers and green leaves as signs spring is coming, others dread these seasonal changes as they prepare for allergies with nasal spray, antihistamines, and eye drops. According to WebMD, the US pollen season seems to be getting progressively longer so how can you get relief?

The Culprit’s M.O.

Trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air. The multitude of sources makes pollen the biggest spring allergy trigger. Additionally, pollen can travel for MILES, meaning even if you live in a region with relatively low pollen count, you could still be susceptible.

Signs the perp is near? If you have spring allergies, you may notice this is when you start experiencing a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing or general irritation of your respiratory system. Depending on the severity of the allergies, some people may also break out in hives or experience skin irritation upon direct contact.  

How to Shut It Down

While medications and treatments can address the symptoms of pollen allergies, there are things you can do in and out of your home to reduce your exposure to this criminal at large.  

  • Lifestyle changes – Know you’re susceptible to pollen allergies? Reducing your outdoor exposure to pollen can help manage your allergies. Maybe skip gardening this season, or keep yard work simple. Pollen counts distributed by local weather stations can also help you limit your time spent outside on high pollen days.
  • Prevent pollen from coming into your home – If you’ve been spending time outside, change your clothes as soon as you get home before sitting on any furniture to prevent the spread of pollen into your home. You should also wash your face or even shower if you are particularly sensitive. Experts recommend showering at night to limit your overnight exposure.

  • Remove pollen from the air around you – While preventive measures to reduce your exposure outside can help, it’s ultimately impossible to reduce any contamination of pollen into your home. In fact, indoor air can have more contaminants than outdoor air as your home doesn’t have the regular wash down from a nice spring rain shower. Using a home air purifier can help remove the pollen and allergens from the air in your home.

Finding the Right Solution

With any “gunk” in your air, it’s important to know what you’re trying to filter out and the capabilities of different technologies. Pollen is a ‘larger’ airborne particle, between 10 and 40 microns, so many filters with a mechanical filtration system can effectively capture it.

As seasonal allergies pick up, the sooner you start taking steps to reduce allergens in your home, the better your symptoms will be. Reducing your exposure to this ‘gunk’ is key to embracing the spring flowers – though maybe from a distance.

 

Photo by Marta Jastrzebska on Unsplash

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