Move over, pollen vortex, the pollen tsunami is here.
A ferocious winter, delayed spring and even the beginnings of climate change have created a “pollen tsunami” that is slamming allergy sufferers in the Northeast, says one expert.
Oak and birch trees — the “big bad” pollen makers — are coming out at the same time as the seasonal ones like poplar, alder and ash. And soon the grass pollens arrive.
“It’s a triple whammy,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. “The early and mid-spring tree pollen and the grasses are hitting all at once to create misery and suffering.”
Winter snow and rains fed tree root systems and triggered a “robust response,” according to Bassett. And now, a deluge of pollen is irritating susceptible sinuses and leaving its telltale green residue on porches and window sills.
“It’s pretty bad — you can actually see it on your car,” said Guy Robinson, who teaches in the natural science department at New York’s Fordham University and runs its two pollen testing stations.
But, Robinson said, the pollen numbers are not “unusually high” for the first week of May.
“We haven’t seen anything close to record-breaking.”
Experts say if you have allergies, check the pollen count and stay indoors if it’s high.
More survival tips:
1. Use air conditioning.
2. Exercise indoors.
3. Wear a hat and sunglasses when outdoors.
4. If you live in the suburbs, don’t hang clothes out to dry.
5. Wash your face after going outdoors.
6. Keep pollen-laden clothing out of the bedroom.
7. Keep floors clean.
8. Consider “air-cleaning” indoor plants like English ivy and bamboo palm.
9. Shower every night. Rinse the pollens that have collected on your skin and hair throughout the day,
One other unusual tip experts recommend to cleanse your itchy eyes: baby shampoo.
10. Gently irrigate your eyelids (eyes closed) with a mild, tear-free baby shampoo to remove allergens and pollutants. Your doctor may also recommend anti-allergy or moisturizing eye drops.
If none of that helps, consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
As for the nasty green pollen that lands on the porch:
11. Don’t sweep, hose it down.
“I am allergic myself and I use a wet mop,” said Robinson.
Allergist Bassett agrees.
“Sweeping can drive the smallest pollen particles into your breathable space,” said Bassett. “Wear a pollen or dust mask to avoid it or just ask a non-allergy friend [to do it].”