I’m no match for pollen

The pollen season attacks with almost no warning. Photo courtesy aarp.org

Spring has officially started. For me this means months of battling one of my most powerful opponents: pollen. Each year the pollen in the air requires me to make adjustments to my daily life. Pollen, and the allergy symptoms it brings, impact me in more ways than one.

I have always had severe allergy symptoms. They include an itchy and runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing and more. Sometimes my symptoms are consistent with that of a cold or flu. In my younger years I would experience difficulty breathing and even nausea from a buildup of mucus caused by allergy season and the pollen in the air. In recent years, I have been more prone to skin rashes during the months of allergy season.

As a result of these symptoms, I am often unable to leave the house during allergy season. I typically remain indoors to avoid triggering my allergies and experiencing an allergy attack. If I do leave the house during these months, then it is primarily to attend events or meetings that will take place indoors.

Although I attempt to avoid the outdoors, sometimes the pollen is so strong that even after a few seconds of walking to the car, I am triggered. My nose starts to itch, and I know it will only get worse from there. During grade school, I often had to miss school because my symptoms were unbearable, even though school operations are mostly indoors.

This is something that has worried me as I get older and have more responsibilities. I will not be able to stay home from my future job or stop caring for my future family because of allergies. In college, I have already had so start sucking it up” in a sense. I have to just get up and deal with the symptoms to not miss class meetings and other important events.

Thankfully, I have been able to utilize different over-the-counter medications to allow me to get a handle on my symptoms, make it through the day and fulfill my responsibilities. Medications like Mucinex or Alka Seltzer help me deal with the symptoms that are similar to cold and flu symptoms. Allergy pills, nasal sprays and cough drops also help me in my fight against the pollen during allergy season.

Beyond medications, I also rely on natural remedies like hot showers, a humidifier and different herbs or essential oils. Lemon and peppermint are two essential oils that are usually effective in alleviating some of my allergy symptoms. They sooth my throat and open up my nasal passages with a quickness.

Medications and natural remedies like this are pricy, however. Allergy season and pollen definitely causes me to have to break the bank. This is something else that concerns me because as I get older, I have to provide these items to myself, rather than them being provided to me by my mother. I am seeing an increase in my spending already and allergy season officially started less than two weeks ago, on March 20.

One thing has been especially helpful for me this allergy season and it does not actually cost that much: a mask. Masks, made popular by COVID-19, keep the user from breathing in air that is contaminated with the virus. This seems to also apply to pollen. I have found that if I wear my mask while walking outside, then my symptoms are not as severe. This has allowed me to save some of the money I would typically need to spend on the medications and natural remedies.

Overall, allergy season is something I dread every year. The obnoxious yellow dust present on cars and other structures lets me know that I will have to start making changes to my daily habits. It lets me know that I must spend more time indoors and more money on managing symptoms, at least for a few months.