Bee Healthy: Tips for pollen allergy sufferers

04/12/2014 12:00 AM

06/05/2014 4:25 PM

Central Valley allergy sufferers are feeling the full force of pollen season. Here are some tips to keep your itchy, watery eyes, nose, and sneezing at bay:

• Shower after working outside – wash hair, eyes and eyelashes.
• Remove work clothes outdoors after working outside and carry them in a bag to the washing machine.
• Take allergy medicines 30 minutes before going outdoors.
• Stay indoors when pollen counts are high for pollens you are allergic to. You can check pollen counts at pollen.aaaai.org.
• Wear a microfiber face mask when doing yardwork.
• At home and when driving, keep windows closed, and when possible, use an air conditioner on recirculate.
• Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters for vacuum cleaners.
• Stay away from highways or industrial plants; exhaust and air pollution make symptom worse.
• Keep your pets out of the bedroom. They can track in pollen from outdoors, and, despite claims to the contrary, there are no hypoallergenic dogs or cats.

I am often asked about eating local honey as a remedy for allergies. This is unlikely to be effective because allergies are caused by the pollen from nonflowering plants (grass, weeds, certain trees), not the pollen in flowers carried by bees. The blooms get the blame, though, because they pollinate at the same time and are a hard sight to miss.

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