Pollen puts a cramp in spring fun

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Spring. The beautiful flowers, green grass, budding and flowering trees, sneezing, running noses, itchy eyes. Whoa. How'd that change? It seems everyone I talk to is either suffering from allergies or has someone in their immediate family who is.
I've lived in the boot heel of Missouri, Northern Indiana, Kentucky and now Alabama. My kids' allergies and mine are worse here than they've ever been anywhere else. The only one that isn't worse and actually seems to suffer less is Hubby. (Good for him.)
Well, I decided to find out just why I'm so miserable. I found enough information to fill a book. The simplest most concise answer I found was this: "An allergy is an abnormally high sensitivity reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance. The immune system of an allergic person reacts when an allergen is absorbed into their body, treating the substance as a harmful invader, causing the white blood cells to begin producing IgE antibodies which attach themselves to mast cells. When this occurs it causes the body to release histamine, which can cause allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, itching, sneezing or a runny nose." Judy Tidwell, "Your Guide to Allergies."
OK, so that means…what? It means my body is confused and is attacking something it doesn't need to and I'm miserable. Goody. Now what? Well, I found out why I am so miserable. So what can I do to make us feel better? On with the research!
The first order of business is to make sure it's allergies causing the problem. Hello, doctor? Yep, it's doctor visit time. Well, we've (my family and I) have seen the doctor and he says that it's allergies. I think everyone in my house is on allergy medication. I should buy stock in a pharmaceutical company! The medication does help, but I began to wonder what else could I do to help alleviate some of these allergies. Back to the research! I love the internet.
According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (try saying that 10 times fast), they recommend the following things:
Avoid the cause of the allergy–well that's a good idea, but to avoid the allergies here I'd have to stop breathing! I know, I know. That's not what they mean. I'm irritable when I'm miserable.
Keep windows and doors closed and keep the air conditioner and dehumidifier running. Keep car windows closed when traveling. Minimize outdoor activity when the pollen count is high or the wind is blowing.
Did you know that plants typically release pollen at certain times of the day? So find out the general time your allergen is being released and lock yourself in your house with the windows closed and the air conditioner running. Another suggestion was to wear a paper mask when mowing or raking because those activities stir up the pollen.
Take vacations to more pollen-free places, like the beach or sea. (Anyone for a two-month long vacation? Do you think Hubby's boss would go for that one? I can just see Hubby saying, "I need a two-month vacation to take my family to a more pollen-free environment." Not!
It's also recommended that you not hang clothing or sheets out to dry. The pollen collects on them. (Rats, I love sun-dried sheets. I'll just have to wait until the pollen settles down. And Hubby gets my clothes line hung again. Hint, hint, Hubby.)
The last suggestion is just common sense. Take a bath or shower after outdoor activity to wash off any allergens that may have collected on you.
According to the information I have, the high pollen counts will continue for awhile. I bet you the electric company loves us about now. We can't go without the air conditioner–nobody can breathe! I still love the flowers, the trees and the bushes. I think, however, for the time being I'll enjoy them from a distance–like my air conditioned house.
If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail: moms-corner@juno.com

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