Cary, NC – A thin yellow fog has enveloped the Triangle for another season but pollen can cause more problems than just a dirty windshield or a pungent smell. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from pollen.
Pollen and Allergies
The main concern with pollen season is allergies. Pollen is one of the most common allergens so if you have been spending time outside, especially during the morning or early afternoon, wash your hands before touching them near your eyes and mouth.
Right now, the thick yellow powder we see outside is tree pollen, which is actually less likely to trigger an allergic reaction than grass or weed pollen. These pollen start later in the Spring and Summer and you are much less likely to see it. But tree pollen can still irritate your eyes and throat because of how large and coarse it is, even if you do not technically have an allergy.
Avoid the early morning, particularly between 5 and 9 AM when plants pollenate the most. If you have pets, try not to let them out during this time because they will carry pollen on their fur and take it into the house. Also, avoid going outside when it is windy if you know you are particularly sensitive to pollen, but after it rains, it’s safe to go out.
Not all allergic reactions are obvious. Some signs that you are close to having a bad outbreak are your eyes have a sudden sensitivity to light or soreness, sinus pressure, fatigue and a decreased sense of taste or smell. You can start to treat these with antihistamines as well as eye drops, though be careful not to use common store-bought eye drops for more than three days in a row.
Cleaning Up Pollen
Pollen season, particularly here in Cary, means a lot of clean up and care to your home. If you have any porches or desks, even if they are covered with mesh to keep bugs out, you will gather a lot of pollen. Get a vacuum, a broom/mop or if it is really bad, a hose, and wash them down.
If you have a fan in your attic, we recommend not using it until pollen season has dissipated. Pollen on your roof is not much cause for concern but an attic fan can blow that around and even circulate it in the house.
For furniture, get them wet and then wipe them down with a mixture of warm water and dish detergent. This gets pollen off easily and will clean up other dirt and dust as well.
Your shoes will also track in pollen so your best ways to get rid of it are, firstly, to shake them off. If you want to be particularly certain, you can use cold water to wash off your shoes or even use tape to get the pollen out of cracks and crevices.