UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – With warmer temperatures in the Upstate, many people are out enjoying the weather while others are sheltering indoors hoping to dodge seasonal allergy symptoms.
According to the CDC, pollen is the main culprit for our sniffling and sneezing South Carolinians.
The yellow plumes of pollen that can be seen in the air and covering cars, buildings and other objects can cause allergy symptoms —-but most people’s problems come from the pollen that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
According to Pollen.com, Oak, Poplar and Maple trees produce the most allergens in Spartanburg.
Every year people search for new ways to keep their symptoms as minimal as possible.
Experts at the CDC reported that costs linked with pollen exceed $3 billion every year and nearly half of those costs come from prescription medication for those suffering with seasonal allergies.
Doctors said there are several actions you can take to lessen your symptoms, a few include:
- Check pollen forecasts on local news and online sources and plan to spend less time outdoors when pollen levels will be high.
- Take your allergy and/or asthma medications as prescribed by your health care provider.
- Keep windows closed during pollen season.
- Use high-efficiency filters in your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Make sure your HVAC system can use high-efficiency filters.
In order to protect yourself, local health experts urge people to avoid touching their eyes while outside, wash your hands as much as possible and wash your clothes before allowing them to touch anything in your house helps too.
“You can watch the pollen counts daily and the days those counts are really high keep the windows closed in your house and try not to do too many activities outside, if you do activities outside come in and shower and wash your hair,” Jeff Harris, physician and medical director at American Family Care said.
Harris said it’s important to know the difference between allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms.
Allergy sufferers will rarely have a high fever and sudden loss of taste. COVID-19 sufferers will never have itchy or watery eyes and rarely get excessive sneezing.
According to medical providers at the American Family Care, there are a few things that can make your allergies worse:
- Drinking Alcohol – An extra glass of wine at dinner could irritate existing allergies. A Danish study found every additional alcoholic drink in a week, increased the risk of seasonal allergies by 3 percent. The researchers suspect the bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce histamines and cause a stuffy nose or itchy eyes.
- Making your bed– Dust mites love to put down roots in bedding and mattresses. AFC medical providers say at night, while you sleep, moisture from body sweat helps keep the little critters alive. When you make your bed in the morning, you are tucking in those pesky bugs, so they cannot escape. Airing out your sheets can make it harder for allergens and bedbugs to stay alive.
- Wearing contact lenses– In some cases, AFC providers say lenses can trap pollen against the surface of the eye. This can be an even bigger issue for anyone who is already suffering from red, itchy eye triggered by seasonal allergies.
- Eating certain fruits and vegetables- Researchers with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found proteins in certain foods can cause ragweed sufferers to end up with an itchy mouth. The experts say bananas, melons as well as tomatoes can cause a cross-reaction.
- Using the dishwasher– A Swedish study published in the journal Pediatrics found children do not develop as many allergies if they eat of a hand washed dishes rather than plates or bowls cleaned in a dishwasher. Researchers found automated dishwashers kill so much bacteria children cannot build up an immunity.