In most parts of the United States, tree pollen causes spring allergies. Your nose may be telling you that tree pollen season is already here. Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. We saw Henrico’s first measurable pollen for 2019 on February 4th. Juniper and Alder tree pollens were noted throughout the first week of February when temperatures warmed to the 60s. Elm, one of the most common tree pollens in the Richmond area, was also present last week. Warm, windy days are more likely to have high levels of pollen while cold, wet days tend to have lower levels. Rain brings pollen down and out of the air. When pollen is low due to rain, mold may rise and cause allergies.
Pine pollen visibly coats cars in the spring. Because of its large size, pine drops from the air quickly and settles causing thick yellow dust. Pine pollen is less likely to trigger allergy due to its large size. Oak tree pollen peaks in April and is the major allergen that triggers spring symptoms. Interestingly, pollen from flowering trees is less likely to cause allergic rhinitis.
Tree pollen season tends to begin in the Richmond area in mid-February and lasts through the end of May. Though spring can be the worst season for many people in this area, pollen is present throughout most of the rest of the year too. Grass pollen season begins in June and runs through August. Weed pollen season begins in August and lasts until the weather turns colder and frost occurs. The major allergen in the fall is ragweed.
Over-the-counter allergy treatment options are a great way to treat symptoms initially, but many people continue to have symptoms despite treatment with antihistamines and intranasal steroids. Prescription nasal sprays can help. Allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) can reduce symptoms and need for medications. Allergy immunotherapy is the most effective treatment available for allergic rhinitis and works by changing the way the immune system recognizes allergens.
Tree pollen season can impact work and school for allergy sufferers. Allergy season can feel like a never-ending cold that impacts productivity and quality of life. Our goal at Richmond Allergy is to help you feel better by finding the right treatment regimen for you.