CNN Calls this Allergy Season “Pollenpocalypse”

The photo above may make you want to sneeze just looking at it. According to CNN, the current pollen spike in the southeast, “comes primarily from the area’s trees, which include pine, oak, mulberry, birch and sweet gum.”

This Allergy Season is Being Called “Pollenpocalypse”

#ThePollening. It sounds like an M. Night Shyamalan horror film.

Why are pollen counts growing? It could be global warming. According to experts at the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA),

“These pollen counts are getting higher today than ever before. This is attributable to climate change, experts say. “Warmer temperatures mean higher carbon dioxide levels, and that increases a plant’s production of pollen,” says Neeta Ogden, MD, an allergist in private practice in Englewood, New Jersey, a member of the Medical-Scientific Council of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, and a spokesperson for the ACAAI. “The atmosphere is almost ridiculously robust for plant and pollen growth, which is why we’ve had off-the-charts pollen counts.”

While it might be tempting to reach for a medicated decongestant/antihistamine nasal spray, overuse is well documented, and can lead to increased congestion, known as “Rebound Congestion.” According to VeryWell Health,

“Rebound congestion is also known as rhinitis medicamentosa, chemical rhinitis, nasal spray addiction. Your nasal passages can develop a dependence to these medications in as little as 3 days… Rebound congestion is more likely to occur if a decongestant is unable to resolve the underlying condition. For example, if Afrin is routinely used to treat hay fever, its inability to resolve the allergy may reduce sneezing but increase congestion.”

According to AAFA one of the best ways to fight allergy season and resolve the underlying condition of hayfever is regular sinus rinsing, to flush pollen and other irritants from the nasal passages.

EverydayHealth explains why this is effective:

“The mechanical action of the liquid pouring into the sinuses that are responsible, experts say. The pressurized liquid in the sinuses helps soften and ultimately dislodge some of the mucus lining. Plus, pollen and other foreign substances in these passageways responsible for allergic reactions can be flushed away.”

Read the published study from National Institutes of Health

In addition to nasal rinsing, here are other ways you can fight the Pollenpocalypse:

  • Limit outdoor activities
  • Keep windows closed
  • Use central air conditioning with air filtration
  • Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors
  • Wear a hat to cover your hair
  • Take a shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen.
  • Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities
  • Dry your laundry in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line
  • Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Wipe pets off with a towel before they enter your home
  • Remove your shoes before entering your home
  • Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week