The spring equinox occurred this week. For gardeners, that means the arrival of watering eyes, sneezing, and congestion associated with seasonal allergies. “Hay fever” happens when the immune system reacts to the pollen and spores that grasses, trees, weeds and outdoor molds release this time of the year. Impacts range from simple sneezing to full-blown reactions that make the general population treat us as pariahs.
There are several steps that we can take to help reduce the misery.
Consult your medical caregiver, who may recommend prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, or less traditional treatments such as the consumption of natural products (honey, herbs, probiotics) or rinsing sinuses with a neti pot.
Keep indoor spaces as pollen-free as possible. Keep windows closed (house AND car).
Vacuum often, using a HEPA filter. Be sure to vacuum upholstered furniture and rugs as well as floors.
Change clothes as soon as you come indoors from gardening. Shower before bedtime, to avoid transferring pollen from your hair to your pillow.
Change air filters in your air conditioning units. Use a high quality filter that says it will trap pollen.
Avoid being outdoors when pollen counts are their highest, typically morning 5am to 10am. If you must be outside for extended periods, consider using a dust/pollen mask.
What your body reacts to can change over time. You may develop an immunity to something that troubled you as a child, or increase sensitivity with long-term exposure. And moving doesn’t help – If you are prone to allergic reactions, your body will find a new enemy in a different locale.
Just keep telling your sneezy self, “this, too, shall pass.”