Pollen Allergies

Everything you wanted to know…


Pollen is a powdered substance that is required by the plants for their reproduction. Plants produce pollen grains to reproduce. Most people think that only flowers contain pollen but as a matter of fact, trees, grasses and weeds produce pollen for fertilization. Pollen allergies are very common. In United States alone, one in seven Americans suffers from pollen allergies making the prevalence rate of 12.87 % in total. They are source of several allergy-related problems with Hay-fever being the most common allergy induced by pollen.

What is pollen allergy?


If a person’s body reacts abnormally to the inhaled pollen resulting in the visible symptoms of allergy, then this type of allergy is called as “Pollen allergy”. As there are different types of pollens, allergies can be of many types. A person may suffer from one of the following types of pollen allergy.

Types of allergies

Tree, weed and grass pollen allergies are the major types of pollen allergy. However, all these types are further subdivided into an ample number of other types. Some of the sub-types are listed below:

Sub-types of Tree pollen allergies are Pecan, mountain cedar, oak, birch and ash pollen allergies etc.

Ragweed allergies are the most common form of weed pollen allergies. Other forms are redroot pigweed allergies and Russian thistle allergies etc.

Grass allergies have various forms such as bent grass allergy, Bermuda grass allergy, and canary grass allergy etc.

Miscellaneous forms of pollen allergies include Hemp pollen allergy, nettle pollen allergy, beet pollen allergy and Walnut tree allergy along with numerous other forms.

What causes pollen allergy?

Most of the cases of pollen allergies are reported during summer because weeds and grass pollinate during that time. Flowers rely on insects and wind to blow their pollen into other flowers for the purpose of reproduction. The problem occurs when the pollen, instead of being blown into the other flower, gets inhaled by the person. It is because of the wind that pollen ends up getting inhaled into our noses. Even during the autumn, the pollen from the weed are still in the air and people develop pollen allergies after inhaling them. Pollen may accumulate into the respiratory system as well.

The symptoms of pollen allergies

Pollens may affect the nasal passage and sinuses badly. Common symptoms associated with pollen allergies are listed below:

  • Runny-nose
  • Clogged nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Watery eyes
  • Abdominal pain

What should I do if I have pollen allergy?

Antihistamines (anti-allergic medications), nasal sprays, eye drops and steroids are the common treatment methods for pollen allergies. Honey is also known to alleviate the suffering of the affected people. However, you must still take preventive measures; the top-most one is allergen avoidance especially during pollen season. Cover yourself when you go outside. You can always wear sun-glasses to avoid pollen’s contact with your eyes. You can drive your car keeping the windows closed. You must keep your pet outside your bedroom because it may accumulate pollen into its fur. Take bath immediately after coming back home from outside.

Believe it or not, you can simply avoid pollen allergy by avoiding the pollen itself. Keep a simple calendar to mark when your symptoms are worst, and check with local pollen advisory.

Hay Fever – the Basics


We all remain afraid of getting sick and most of the time when we go to the doctor; we have a “fever”. However, unlike its name, “Hay Fever” is not caused by hay neither does it occur with typical symptom of fever i.e. increased body temperature. On the contrary, it is a form of allergy known as “Allergic Rhinitis”. It occurs when a person inhales pollen, dust or animal dander. Since it happens after inhalation, it results in allergic inflammation of nasal airways. Actually, grass and plants shed their pollens into the air which are inhaled by the people and they suffer from hay fever.

Hay fever is prevalent in Western countries. In Western countries, an estimated 10 – 25 % people suffer from hay fever annually. In America alone, 30 % Americans suffer from hay fever including 40 % of children. Both male and female genders are equally affected.


How do we classify Hay fever?

Hay Fever is classified into two main types:

  1. Seasonal Hay fever: It occurs particularly during pollen seasons, usually during spring and fall. Children below 6 years of age do not get affected by seasonal hay fever. Seasonal hay fever can be further classified as under:


  • Hay fever caused by Tree Pollen: It occurs during spring.
  • Hay fever caused by Weed Pollen: It occurs during fall.
  • Hay fever caused by Grass Pollen: It affects people at the end of the spring and during summer.
  • Hay fever caused by Fungi: It occurs in warmer seasons.


  1. Perennial Hay fever: Perennial Hay fever can occur throughout the year and younger children are more likely to get affected by it. It can last throughout the year depending on the presence of allergen itself.


  1. Local Allergic Rhinitis: It refers to the local allergic reaction in the nose to an allergen without systemic manifestations. When a person is tested for an allergy, results are negative but actually antibodies are produced in their nose and react with an allergen. Like general Hay fever, local Hay fever can also be classified into seasonal and perennial local allergic rhinitis. Symptoms are pretty much same as those of allergic rhinitis and they can vary from mild to moderate to severe.


How does Hay fever affect us?

People who suffer from hay fever are bothered by excessive nasal secretion along with nasal congestion and obstruction. Furthermore, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose and itchy throat are also common symptoms of hay fever. Symptoms of hay fever are dependent on the severity of allergy. For instance, in severe hay fever, findings indicate severe symptoms such as complete loss of smell and taste, blocked sinuses which result in facial pain and itchiness spreading to the ears and throat. Some people suffering from hay fever have also reported about experiencing insomnia and fatigue. Hay fever affects asthma patients so badly resulting in the increase of their breathlessness episodes. According to an estimate, every one in four people suffering from hay fever has asthma.


What are the risk factors?

Risk factors actually increase the person’s chances of getting affected with particular disease or condition. A person is likely to get affected with hay fever if he or she has following risk factors:

  • If parents or ancestors have had hay fever.
  • If he/she is younger.
  • If a child is regularly exposed to cigarette smoke.
  • If a child is born during high pollen season.
  • If a child is only child in his family, he is more vulnerable as compared to children with siblings.


What preventive measures should I take?

You can always cover your nose when you go outside. Moreover, keep your car windows closed and take all kinds of preventive measures you possibly could to avoid exposure to allergen.