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Pollen Facts and Avoidance Strategies

Contest Winner Welcome to the March edition of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! This month we will address some Pollen Facts and Avoidance Strategies so you can make it through spring allergy season with fewer symptoms. My home city, Atlanta, was recently rated the forth worst city for asthma sufferers. A number of factors contribute to these rankings, and among them are environmental allergens, like pollen, which are so prevalent here in the spring and fall. But, even if you don't live in Atlanta (or one of the other worst cities for asthma - Scranton, Richmond, and Philadelphia) you must still contend with pollen and other allergens this spring. I hope the following strategies will help you navigate the pollen season more comfortably.

In This Month's Issue:
National Allergy February CouponIf you're new to the newsletter or you'd like to reread any of our newsletters, you can find all of our past issues on our website. In future editions, we'll continue to provide you with more educational articles about the aggravating factors behind allergy, asthma, and sinus problems as well as helpful tips and valuable subscriber-only coupons. To top it off, at the beginning of each month we give away an Austin Air HM-400 Air Purifier, valued at $449.99, to one lucky subscriber! Click here for a list of previous winners.


Katie Weaver & The National Allergy Newsletter Team


Pollen Facts & Avoidance Strategies

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

What Are Seasonal AllergiesAbout 36 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. With spring just around the corner, so are the familiar symptoms that so many of us deal with - sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and red, itchy or watery eyes.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, which is also known as Hay Fever (or Pollinosis), happens during specific flowering periods when plants are shedding their pollen. People with rhinitis are sensitive to airborne allergens, so their immune systems mistakenly identify pollen as an intruder, much like bacteria or a virus. Once the body has identified a particular allergen as an intruder, it produces antibodies specific to that allergen and sends them to line the lungs, throat, nose, eyes, skin, and stomach. In the future, when that allergen enters the allergic person's body, it attaches to the antibodies and triggers the release of histamine. This release of histamine is what causes allergy symptoms. To find out more about the body's response to allergens, read this article by Lois Turley, RN, from our learning library.

Many pollen allergy sufferers have or develop year-round allergen sensitivities to things like mold spores, dust mite allergen and pet dander. This is termed Perennial Rhinitis and for millions it means spring-like symptoms all year round. Our Learning Library contains lots of strategies for controlling those common rhinitis culprits like dust mite allergen, pet dander and mold. But in this month's letter, I want to specifically address pollen.

Pollen 101

Pollens are the male reproductive cells of plants. The troubling pollens for allergy sufferers are those of trees, grasses and weeds as opposed to flowering plants. That's because flowering plants depend on insects to carry their heavy, waxy pollen granules from plant to plant. This means that the dreaded yellow film covering cars and sidewalks during the spring shouldn't cause the reaction that other pollens do. The yellow stuff is pine pollen and it's too large and sticky to become airborne for long periods of time.

It is actually the pollen that you can't see that can be the most irritating. In early spring, the main culprits are tree pollens like hickory, elm and oak. Late summer and fall is when weed and grass pollen comes on the scene. Many of these are even lighter and more likely to be airborne than spring's tree pollens. Unfortunately, most people who are allergic to pollen are sensitive to several different types, so if you had a rough season last fall, you may need to take heed of some of our avoidance strategies for this spring.

Pollen Counts

Local news stations and news services are starting to announce pollen count information, depending on where you live. A pollen count represents the concentration of all the pollen (or a particular type if noted) in the air in a certain area at a specific time. The measurement is expressed in grains of pollen per square meter of air collected over 24 hours. There are several sources to find these counts for your area. For example, the National Allergy Bureau website reports daily pollen concentrations and types by region.

Peak times for pollen vary by region of the country. The further north you are, the later your area's pollinating period and allergy season will begin. So, our subscribers in the northern United States may be waiting until April before pollen and allergies are a severe nuisance. For those of you in a southern state like me, start watching those pollen counts now and plan your pollen-avoidance strategy.

Avoidance Strategies

If you and your doctor have identified pollen as one of your allergy sensitivities, there are many ways to go about finding relief. For seasonal rhinitis, many physicians prescribe steroid nasal sprays for short-term relief. Other prescribed and over the counter the drugs can be beneficial to deal with the onslaught of allergy symptoms; however, they can be pricey, and many can cause side effects that, personally, I find frustrating.

Avoiding Pollen Outdoors.
A few lifestyle changes can help you avoid peak pollen times. For example, some especially sensitive individuals will plan out of town vacations during their area's heaviest pollen period. The peak time each day for pollen counts is usually in the morning, so if you cannot avoid outdoor activities altogether, at least postpone yard work and play until later in the day.

Allergen filter masks are a must if you love to be outside, but hate the wheezing and runny nose of spring. National Allergy has a Lightweight Silk Mask that is breathable, washable and great for preventing the inhalation of pollen. Our Disposable Dust and Pollen Masks should also be a springtime staple for various activities in and around the house.

Avoiding Pollen Indoors.
There are several steps you can take to reduce pollen counts inside your home. First, keep windows, attic fans and other unfiltered openings closed. Next, look at home filtration options such as a Window Screen Filter, which allows you to open a window without allowing airborne irritants inside. High-efficiency disposable furnace filters or our permanent furnace filters (which are on special this month!) are great ways to trap pollen particles and keep them from circulating around your home. Adding a Vent Filter to the air registers in key rooms will further aid your furnace filter's efficiency.

HEPA air cleaners can greatly reduce the allergen count in rooms. The IQ Air HealthPro and HealthPro Plus are also very popular, and were recently featured again on ABC's Extreme Home Makeover for their ability to remove airborne particles. The HealthPro Plus has extra filtration media for the removal of chemicals and gasses like cooking odors and smog.

Pollen can sneak into your home in a variety of ways. If you have pets, limit their time outdoors and give them more frequent baths to control the amount of pollen they track into the house on their fur. Washing them with Anti-Allergen Pet Shampoo will also help control the dander. Quick Bath Pet Wipes are another fast, easy solution for removing pollen and dander from your pets. Also remember that during a day of activities, you've probably been attracting pollen, too. So be sure to shower and wash your clothes more frequently... just don't dry them outdoors or they'll catch more of those airborne granules!

Seasonal Allergy Relief

SinoFresh Nasal Spray While practicing avoidance, chances are that you will still be affected occasionally by airborne pollen. For finding seasonal allergy relief, try some of these non-drug solutions:

  • SinoFresh is a non-addictive nasal spray that moisturizes the nasal passages and cleanses them of germs and allergens. POLLEN SEASON SPECIAL - buy SinoFresh Nasal Spray and receive a FREE bottle of SinoFresh Throat Spray (a $9.99 value)!
  • The Nasopure Nasal Wash System is a positive pressure irrigation system. Simply fill the ergonomic bottle with the included organic saline solution and wash away pollen, particles and bacteria from your nose and sinuses.
  • The Medibeads Moist Heat Sinus Wrap offers relief for tired, puffy eyes and sinuses. After a day of pollen exposure, ease the pressure with Medibeads.

There is indeed a lot to contend with during spring allergy season. Hopefully this month's tips will be helpful as you practice pollen avoidance and find natural relief. Next month, we'll get specific about nasal irrigation methods and techniques, and why washing the nose is an important practice to follow.

This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor first about your specific condition, treatment options and other health concerns you may have.

Remember that our customer service representatives have plenty of experience guiding people through the options for allergy, asthma and sinus relief, so feel free to contact us by calling one of our phone experts at 1-800-522-1448 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Eastern Time. You can also e-mail us at


This Month's Exclusive Offers - Expire 04/03/2006

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Save up to $19.99 and improve your home's air quality by reducing common indoor allergens like dust and pollen. These washable, permanent furnace filters come in 20 standard sizes both with and without charcoal for odor control and have a lifetime warranty. Plus, you'll save money in the long run by not having to buy replacement disposable filters every few months.   Our DustChek Vent Filtration Kit is a must-have for helping to lower the amount of dust in a room. The electrostatic media keeps medium to large particles that reside in your duct work from becoming airborne in your home through the vent register. This month, subscribers can get this easy-to-use solution (a $12.99 value) at no charge with any order over $90!

To take advantage of the offers in this newsletter, be sure to subscribe by clicking here. After confirming your subscription, you will have an opportunity to read the current newsletter complete with the promotional codes.


Help Your Friends

People you care about can benefit from allergen avoidance. Help them learn more about minimizing the allergens in their environment by forwarding them this issue of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter. They'll thank you for it!


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