Seeing red over all the yellow? How to deal with pollen

March 29, 2011 

  • Drive with your windows up and vehicle air-conditioning systems on.

    Turn on your home air-conditioning system (even if the air outside is cool) so the system filters the circulating air.

    Don’t sleep with windows open.

    Try over-the-counter antihistamines such as Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec to treat minor symptoms.

    Avoid using antihistamine-decongestant combinations (those often have the D after their name) if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

    See a doctor if over-the-counter drugs don’t do the trick.

For every person celebrating the early arrival of springlike weather in recent weeks, there was another fretting about the early arrival of pollen season.

The early bloomers are the traditional sentinels of spring -- and of the influx of tree pollens. And any rainy-day relief often is followed by even worse days.

Trees shut down the reproduction process (that's what pollen's all about) on those rainy days, then go into overdrive on the next sunny day. It's even worse if that next warm day is windy, which blows more pollen off the trees, said Dr. Lisa Hutto, a Columbia allergist.

People who face the pollen allergy challenge every spring know how to deal with it. Hutto said longtime patients who start on drug regimes in February have few serious problems.

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