Spring weather starts early in the southeast. Here in the metro Atlanta area, it’s possible to see pollen as early as January. In many areas, peak pollen season begins in late March to mid-April and the season can last until the end of May.
Unfortunately, each pollen season has been progressively worse than the previous due to several environmental factors. However, to make life more bearable, allergy expert Lela Casey of Aeris Health shares her wisdom on how pollen affects your health and a few tips on how to keep the pollen out of your home this spring.
1. Check the Local Pollen Count
During the pollen season, you will often hear “pollen counts” mentioned along with the forecast. This is the measurement of the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. “A high pollen count is considered 9.7 to 12.0 grams of pollen per cubic meter,” says Casey . The average pollen count during peak season can be in the range of thousands of grams per cubic meter in my area.
For those who suffer from allergies, a high pollen count means sinus issues, watery eyes, coughs, and other cold-like symptoms. Even for those without typical seasonal allergy symptoms, excess particles in the air can cause an itchy throat and eyes.
Before you head out for the day, check the pollen count so you can prepare. If it’s high, you may want to hold off on any outdoor activities.
2. Keep the Windows Closed & Consider an Air Purifier
After a long winter, it’s tempting to throw open the windows to let in some fresh air. “Managing your indoor air is even more important during the spring and fall when pollen can get into your home,” says Casey.
It’s best to keep windows shut and turn on the A/C if it gets too warm. Change your HVAC filters, or better yet, upgrade to a HEPA filter that will trap more pollen. If needed, add an air purifier. “A good air purifier can remove up to 99.95 percent of the pollutants in your air, “ says Casey. As pollen season intensifies, air purifiers become an indispensable tool in the fight against allergies.
Eventually, you will have to go outdoors. However, you can do a few things to limit the amount of pollen you track into the house. Wipe your feet on the doormat or remove your shoes outdoors. The same goes for jackets, sweatshirts or other outer clothing that has pollen on it.
Don’t forget about your pets. If they spend significant time outdoors, they can track pollen indoors too. Give them a good brushing and wipe down before they come into the house.
While it’s almost impossible to keep all the pollen out, setting up a regular cleaning routine will help tremendously. “Things like wiping down surfaces and vacuuming should be done daily,” says Casey, “But, it’s also important to remember those often-overlooked spots like windows, curtains, laundry rooms, basements, refrigerator drain pans and old books,” Casey suggests wearing a mask while cleaning to minimize breathing in any extra dust or pollen.
Pollen is necessary to help plants bloom and procreate. However, with these easy to follow tips, you can keep most of it outdoors, where it belongs.