It’s everywhere. Cars are covered with yellow sheets of it and those with itchy and watery eyes crowd doctor’s offices hoping for relief.
It’s the first round of spring pollen.
“Pollen season usually begins the first week of March, peaks in the latter part of the month and winds down in April,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Mike Jamski.
According to Jamski, pollen season begins with the pollination of trees, followed by grass and then ending with weeds in the late summer.
He said pollen is actually invisible and cannot be detected and the yellow film is pine dust.
“Pine dust is a by-product of pollen,” Jamski said. When pollination occurs, dust from most pine trees produces dust.”
Tanya Tatum, director of student health services, suggests that students with allergy problems avoid exposure to pollen on days when the pollen count is high and to keep all windows closed.
“I advise students to stay indoors and to use the air conditioner instead of opening the windows,” Tatum said. “Sweep and dust inside your house and wash linens and clothes on a regular basis and wash your hands and your face regularly to avoid irritation. Also use hypo-allergenic make-up.”
Allergist and Immunologist, Dr. Ronald Saff, said that it is important to get tested for allergies because one may test negative to trees and test positive to other things inside the house.
Saff also suggests that it is important to identify what the person is allergic to and seek treatment.
If the case is severe, the person should then enroll in an allergy vaccination program.
“There is absolutely no truth in the research about consumption of bee pollen or honey as a form of allergy treatment,” Saff said. “The most effective treatments are over the counter medications like antihistamines.”
Saff suggested that those who suffer from allergies could receive other forms of medication.
“Those who are super miserable with allergies can receive allergy shots,” Saff said. “The shots work to build up immunity to all things that one is allergic to. Treatments starts with a small injection of what you are allergic and the dosage increases weekly.”
Saff also said that the treatments lower allergic triggers so that one is able to cope with them easier decreasing many fever symptoms.
Jamski suggests that students wear masks while working outdoors, as well as wear sunglasses to protect eyes from pollen and irritation.
Although FAMU’s Student Health Clinic does not conduct testing for allergies, they will refer students to a dermatologist, who can perform these tests.
“We do not provide students with allergy testing but we can provide students with treatment to allergic reactions and allergy symptoms,” Tatum said.
The clinic hours of student health services are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.