Record Pollen Counts Cause Allergy Suffering for Many

By Mia Kobylski, Editor-in-Chief

Central Pennsylvania is experiencing some of the highest pollen counts in the country, and people are starting to take notice as a massive allergy epidemic sweeps across the state.

According to Allergy & Asthma Consultants Inc. in York, PA, during a normal allergy season, the highest counts are between 2,000 and 4,000.

However, this year, the count has been recorded as upwards of 9,000.

These extremely high pollen counts are leaving allergy sufferers with elevated symptoms, such as runny noses, coughing and itchy eyes.

These symptoms can make spending time outside in the beautiful weather quite unpleasant.

However, there are a few steps people can take to minimize exposure to seasonal allergens.


  • Medications


Over the counter medicines such as Claritin, Zyrtec and Benadryl can relieve symptoms. In addition, nasal saline solutions can be used to remove allergens, dust and pollen from your nose. This can also not only clear the nose of things that cause sneezing, but also relieve congestion. For those who are prone to allergies, building up these medications in your system at the beginning of the season can lessen symptoms before they even start.


  • Stay Indoors


During the worst pollen days, experts say to stay indoors with the windows closed. Indoor air filters, dehumidifiers and air conditioners help to make indoor air allergen free, so make sure they are clean and functioning properly. If you must go outside, wait until the afternoon, since trees usually pollinate in the morning. Since wind can carry pollen, it is best to avoid windy days. A protective face mask may help to block out particles while working outside.


  • Wash Off Allergens


Because pollen and dust can attach to your hair, it is also best to shower after working or playing outside. Additionally, removing work clothes before entering the house lessens the risk of pollen coming in to your home. In addition to washing yourself, wash bedding, pillows and upholstered furniture. Mites can hide in fabric and are best killed with hot water washes. Pets are also a source of allergens, so vacuum frequently and bathe them after being outside.


  • Natural Remedies


Local raw honey can actually help control allergies. By eating the honey, your body is able to get used to natural pollens in your area. Drinking apple cider vinegar with lemon juice is another solution that will clear your sinuses. A good diet always helps, so fill up on foods that are nutrient dense and good for the immune system such as garlic, coconut, green vegetables and nuts.