Relieve Your Springtime Allergies
Spring is finally here. The sun is shining, there is a nice breeze in the air, the flowers and trees are blooming and it just feels really good to be outside again. Unfortunately, for the thousands of people in northern Virginia who have springtime allergies, it means sneezing, congestion, itchy/watery eyes, runny nose and other signs and symptoms.
Early spring allergy issues are typically caused by wind-borne pollen from trees followed by grass and weed pollens. Windy, sunny, hot, dry, clear days will often be worse for allergy-sufferers as there is a lot of pollen and mold in the air. Keep this in mind as you prepare for outdoor yard work or play.
The good news is that most garden variety flowers and brightly colored, fragrant, flowering trees don't cause many symptoms as their pollen is heavier and dependent on insects carrying the pollen from plant to plant. So when pollen is visible, you don't have to worry. Allergic reactions are typically due to the strong fragrant scents of the flowers and not to their pollens. The plants and trees that cause the bulk of allergy symptoms are from those whose pollen is windborne and have more non-descript looking flowers. These pollens are carried by the wind, are usually very lightweight and almost invisible to the eye but can pack a serious punch on the sinuses.
A major issue with pollens, at the moment, is that a majority of plants, trees and shrubs planted in urban areas are male. Male plants produce the pollen grains that cause the majority of the seasonal allergy symptoms. Homeowners and developers select male plants because they are low maintenance and do not produce seedpods or fruits so they don't leave a mess in the yards and surrounding areas.
The most pollen producing plants are being planted simply because they don't make a mess. They are being planted around most business developments, schools, hospitals as well as suburban housing developments. With more urban development happening in the northern Virginia area and more male pollen producing plants being planted, allergy symptoms will continue to rise.
Compounding the pollen issue in the spring is the fact that greenhouse gases are having a big impact on increased pollen production, which is contributing to the global increase in allergy symptoms. As things heat up, pollen production increases as well.
Plant pollens are not the only trigger for allergy-sufferers. Mold and mildew play a big role in the seasonal symptoms as their spores effect people in the spring time as well as year round. Mold can be found in new soil that is spread in the yard or in the mulching that is used in garden beds. Also, if you are composting, molds will be present in the compost pile as well.
Spring time is a great time of year and should be enjoyed by everyone, even people who suffer with allergy symptoms.