Self-help tips for relieving eye symptoms during pollen season
How are eye symptoms treated?
Avoid rubbing the eyes as symptoms may only appear when the allergen is brought in direct contact with the eyes. Apply cool compresses to the eyelids or use artificial tears to reduce symptoms and help wash away allergens and inflammatory mediators.
Oral antihistamines help itching of the eyes. However, if they cause drying, antihistamines may increase irritation. There are a number of topical medications (mostly prescription) that treat allergic conjunctivitis.
What weather conditions affect the amount of airborne pollen?
Dry windy days raise the pollen counts. Rain reduces pollen counts but only temporarily. When dry windy days follow rain, mold spores are in the air with pollen and both are inhaled. Pollen counts around the country can be obtained from www.aaaai.org/nab on the internet.
What is “oral allergy syndrome” and how is it associated with pollen?
The syndrome is associated with pollen allergy. For example, potato, carrot, celery, apple, and hazelnut are associated with birch pollen. Melons and banana are associated with ragweed pollen. This syndrome resolves rapidly and is not to be confused with serious systemic food reactions that include tight throat and swelling of the lips and tongue called angioedema which may require epinephrine immediately. Note that danger signs include airway obstruction, difficulty swallowing, voice changes, and tight throat.