Protect against pollen this spring.
Pollen is back and slowly but surely taking over the grounds of Montclair State University and the surrounding town. While it is beautiful and refreshing to watch the plants grow, the grounds are inhabited by pine trees and a mix of liquidambar trees – both are extremely pollinating. Therefore, especially if you are an outdoorsy person, it is best you are aware of your sensitivities to pollen. Finally, warmer temperatures and longer days are upon us, but with that comes allergy season.
Although these plants produce pollen year-round, the amount of pollen produced is increased exponentially in the spring. Pollen is a powdery and microscopic grain produced from the male part of a flower for the purpose of reproduction. They are produced in massive quantities, which can easily be carried and spread everywhere by the wind, insects and animals. Our body has a number of barriers and an immune system to protect against a foreign substance such as pollen and mold. However, some people have hypersensitivity to such substances, therefore their bodies elicit an extreme immune response to these substances which can trigger mild to severe allergies.
Some of the common symptoms for pollen allergy include:
- Excessive sneezing and wheezing
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy and dilated eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy throat
Good news; a lot can be done to prevent or ease those annoying symptoms. The amount of pollen varies depending on the area, so keep an eye out for the yellow powder that accumulates on your car and outdoor furniture. Also, check for the pollen count before you decide to spend the day outdoors. A pollen count tells how much pollen is in the air during the day and it can vary greatly due to the weather and time of a day. Go here to search for your local daily pollen count on the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital webpage. If you are highly sensitive to pollen, they suggest keeping outdoor activity to a minimum when the count is at the peak level, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.