5 Allergist-Approved Ways to Fight Pollen Allergies

Pollen ruining your summer days and leading to sleepless nights? You’re not alone—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

These days, allergy season is lasting longer than ever—thanks to climate change, pollen counts are high nearly year round!

Across the U.S., pollen allergies begin as early as February and overlap with grass pollen allergies in May or June which finally overlap with weed pollen allergies until the first good freeze as late as November or December! 

If pollen gets you sneezing, you’re not alone: more than 60 million people have pollen allergies.

I’m Chet Tharpe, MD, a board certified allergist and head of clinical care at Curex, the allergy company. I’ve been helping people reduce their pollen allergies for over 10 years. I’ve pulled together my tried-and-true tactics for fighting back at pollen and living your best life this summer—free of sneezing and itching.

1. Use Pollen.com to monitor the pollen count in your area
Monitor pollen counts closely and consider staying indoors when counts are high. They are often highest during early morning hours as well as on dry, windy days, which allows pollen to stay suspended and get blown in large quantities everywhere. Going outside after a rain storm is ideal as the rain-soaked pollen is cleared from the air. 

2. Don’t let pollen catch a free ride in your home
Pollen is sneaky, sticky, and can enter your home by attaching to almost any surface including your clothes, shoes, skin, and even your pets. It’s best to remove shoes and clothes before or immediately upon entering your house and place them in the washing machine. Shower immediately to remove pollen from your skin and hair. If you have pets, keeping them brushed and bathed regularly will help decrease the amount of pollen they bring indoors with them.

3. Rinse your nose
The majority of pollen triggered nasal symptoms you experience including itching, sneezing, drainage and congestion is the result of pollen exposure and its persistence in your nasal passages. Thus, you have got to get it out. A great way to remove pollen allergens as well as other irritants and nasal drainage, is to rinse your nose with salt water1. Saline solutions can come in many forms including low volume mists or sprays such as Simply Saline™ and high volume rinses such as a NeilMed® Sinus Rinse® or neti pot.

4. Consider over-the-counter medications
Nasal sprays and antihistamines can provide impactful short-term reduction in your allergy symptoms. It’s best to load up on these OTC drugs two weeks prior to the start of allergy season and keep them on-hand. I recommend intranasal steroid sprays2 (e.g. Flonase® (fluticasone propionate), Nasacort® (triamcinolone acetonide))used 2 weeks prior to the start of allergy season can be extremely effective. Steroid sprays work best if used daily. Pre-medicating with a non-sedating antihistamine3,4 (e.g. Zyrtec® (cetirizine), Allegra® (fexofenadine)) about 1 hour prior to going outdoors or taken daily during the pollen season can also help mitigate allergy symptoms

5. Solve your pollen problem with immunotherapy
Conquer your allergies and get long-term relief with allergy immunotherapy.

Allergy immunotherapy treats the source of your allergies, building up your body’s immune response to a pollen (or other) allergen and reducing the symptoms over time. Unlike over-the-counter anti-histamines and steroids, immunotherapy gets to the root of the problem and fights your allergies at the source.

Immunotherapy is available at the doctor’s office, via shots. But, now, with Curex, you can get allergy immunotherapy treatment delivered to your door. Just take a short quiz, meet with an experienced clinician via a telehealth consultation, and receive your customized prescription, delivered to your door.

Curex has partnered with Pollen.com to provide at-home immunotherapy. To find out if you’re a good candidate for allergy immunotherapy, take our short quiz at getcurex.com to find out if you’re a good candidate for this life-changing treatment for allergy sufferers. 

References:
[1] Piromchai P, Kasemsiri P, Reechaipichitkul W. Squeeze bottle versus syringe nasal saline irrigation for persistent allergic rhinitis - a randomized controlled trial. Rhinology. 2020 Oct 1;58(5):460-464. doi: 10.4193/Rhin19.308. PMID: 32427228.
[2] Karaulov AV, Vylegzhanina T, Ovchinnikov A, Chernikova M, Nenasheva N. Triamcinolone Acetonide versus Fluticasone Propionate in the Treatment of Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized, Parallel-Group Trial. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2019;179(2):142-151. doi:10.1159/000497160
[3] Bousquet J. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing the efficacy and safety of fexofenadine hydrochloride (120 and 180 mg once daily) and cetirizine in seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999;104(5):927-933. doi:10.1016/s0091-6749(99)70070-9
[5] Mirone C, Albert F, Tosi A, et al. Efficacy and safety of subcutaneous immunotherapy with a biologically standardized extract of Ambrosia artemisiifolia pollen: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004;34(9):1408-1414. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.02056.x
[6] Creticos PS, Esch RE, Couroux P, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of standardized ragweed sublingual-liquid immunotherapy for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis [published correction appears in J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 May;133(5):1502]. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014;133(3):751-758. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.10.041
[7] Nelson HS, Nolte H, Creticos P, Maloney J, Wu J, Bernstein DI. Efficacy and safety of timothy grass allergy immunotherapy tablet treatment in North American adults. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127(1):72-80.e802. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2010.11.035

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