Enjoying this beautiful spring? …until the allergy symptoms begin?! Although there is no cure for allergies, there are medications to help alleviate the misery of pollen, and making the best use of your HVAC system, and adjusting your household habits, can play a big role.
You’re not Alone!
In fact, the Weather Channel offers a nationwide Allergy Tracker Map and a daily Pollen Report. See at The Weather Channel
Traveling? This same national map can be a great help in deciding what you’ll need to take with you to keep the sneezing, watering eyes under control.
Two Things to do
There are two things you can do to help control your seasonal allergies. First, establish what substances are causing your allergies. Second, take measure to avoid them and keep your air free of pollen and other agents.
The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends finding a certified allergist. They offer a link to help locate someone in your area. Search ACAAI here.
According to them:
An allergist is trained to find the source of your symptoms, treat it and help you feel healthy. After earning a medical degree, the doctor must complete a three-year residency-training program in either internal medicine or pediatrics. Then, an allergist completes two or three more years of study in the field of asthma, allergy and immunology.”
Once you’ve established the causes of your allergies, treatments can be prescribed. But this is an after-the-fact cure. How can you avoid exposure to the allergen in the first place?
This is Where Your Heating and Cooling Specialist can Offer Assistance
What causes the body to react? The most common spring allergy symptoms are:
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
- Itchy Eyes and Nose
- Scratchy Dry Throat
- Swollen Eyes and Circles Beneath
- Upper Respiratory Congestion
Our immune system thinks pollen is a danger and releases antibodies to attack the allergens. This leads to the release of histamines, a chemical, into our system. These histamines are what trigger itchy eyes, runny nose, etc.
Not just the plants in our own neighborhood will affect us…pollen can travel for miles.
Click Here for an interesting site with lists of pollen found in Minnesota counties.
Here is what we found to be most present in Hennepin County:
Trees – Bitter-Nut Hickory, Black Ash, Oak and Walnut, Box Elder, Burr Oak, Cedars, Willows and Mulberry.
Weeds – Annual Ragweed, Biennial Wormwood, Black Mustard, Ragweeds, Amaranth and Sagebrush.
Grasses – Common Timothy, Nodding Fescue, Orchard Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, and Prairie Koeler’s Grass.
Naturally, pollen count is higher on breezy days as particles are picked up and spread through the air. Rainy days are good as they wash away the allergens.
Animal Dander – a protein mix secreted in animal’s skin and saliva can cause allergic reactions in some people. Shampoo pet frequently, keep carpets clean and vacuumed.
Dust Mites – tiny microscopic mites live in dust and feed on pollen, bacteria, fungi and the dead skin from humans and pets. Keep house dust free.
Fragrance – it is questioned whether fragrance is a true allergen or simply an irritant. However, many people respond to some heavy fragrances with allergy type symptoms.
Cockroaches and Insects – found everywhere, have proteins in their droppings, saliva and appendages that can trigger allergies. When they die and decay, this adds to the allergen cocktail.
The Berkeley Lab for Indoor Air Quality says:
There is a general agreement that the warmer temperatures from climate change will cause the pollen season to start earlier in the year. Also, temperature increases will enable plants to survive longer in higher latitudes…and may extend the pollen season for some plants…There is also some evidence that increased carbon dioxide levels will increase potency for some allergens.”
Follow Healthy Living Tips
Other than taking the advice of your physician, what steps can you take to control your environment and cut down on exposure to pollens and other culprits?
Dust and Vacuum – Frequently, because allergen particles are carried in the air and often settle on furniture and floors.
Keep Doors and Vents Closed – Seal any loose areas and cracks around windows and doors.
Air-Filter System – Circulation, and filtration are most important. Some people with moderate to severe allergies elect to install air-purification equipment. Even without the heat or air on, you can use the ‘fan’ on your system to circulate and filter the inside air.
Keep Filters Clean – In a prior blog on this subject, we added a list of types of filters and their MERV [minimum efficiency recording value] ratings.
The Berkeley Lab also said: “A portion of our exposures to these allergens occurs inside buildings…Changes in building design might be effective…Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning will reduce pollen allergen exposures. Air conditioning was associated with a reduction in asthma incidence…More airtight building envelopes will reduce penetration of pollens or pollen fragments to the indoors… through cracks and holes. Increased particle filtration, using filters in heating and cooling systems or portable air filtration systems, could reduce airborne levels of pollen fragments…Filtration of the incoming mechanically supplied outdoor air, when present, may be particularly effective.”
Ultimately, precautions need to be taken to protect workers.
At ABEL Heating & Cooling, we have an air quality certified expert who can inspect your home or business, and your heating and cooling system, to help alleviate effects of allergens.
Call us at 952-472-2665 or Contact Us