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Don't You Love Pollen?

By Albert Gao


Plants: the only things keeping your local park from looking like a Home Depot parking lot. They’re the first things we think of when we imagine nature. For as great and vital as they are to our existence, there exists a time where we couldn’t hate them more. Of course, I am referring to seasonal allergies.

Between trees, grasses, and weeds, Maryland’s allergy season can last for the better part of a year. Typically these three distinct groups of plants bloom at different times. Starting in February, people vulnerable to tree pollen will start suffering. However, the peak of pain for tree pollen is in April. Then, while you start enjoying your days off school in June, grass pollen devastates. The last stop of this horrid timeline is in September, being the worst for weed allergens.

But what causes this vehement response? When your body’s immune system encounters allergens, such as pollen, antibodies cause cells to release histamines, which are the root of allergy symptoms. One of the most common classes of medications to ease pollen allergies are antihistamines. Although Natural Highways is not sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, for better or worse, nor claim to be medical professionals, if you deem your allergy severe, you may consider talking to your doctor about antihistamines. Other medicines include decongestants, to unclog a stuffy nose, and perhaps even immunotherapy, which is receiving allergy shots in increased doses of pollen for 3-5 years.

How can you minimize exposure to pollen?

Remember to keep doors and windows closed

Frequently change air filters

Vacuum and dust often

Wear a mask when going outside

Avoid mowing lawns and gardening

Unfortunately, pollen allergies are a part of nature we must endure. Hopefully, these strategies will help minimize the negative effects of allergies so you can continue your journey in the great outdoors. Happy Hiking!

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