It’s already beginning to happen. You’re waking up with puffy, itchy, red eyes, a stuffy nose, and sneezing throughout the day. Sound familiar? It may be a result of “cedar fever” and other allergens already beginning to bloom in some areas.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. In fact, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion. Nasal allergies alone affect 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children, every year.
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Having a general understanding of pollen helps us to address it more effectively, limiting its negative impacts on ourselves and our families. The University of Tulsa explains,” Pollen is the male gametophyte of seed plants…Pollen is primarily dispersed by insects or wing. Wind-pollinated plants are called anemophilous, while insect-pollinated plants are called entomophilous.”
“It is the wind-pollinated plants that are the cause of suffering to many who are pollen-sensitive.”
“At the proper season, pollen can be so abundant that clouds of it can be seen emanating from vegetation disturbed by wind or shaking. Although much of this pollen settles close to the source, some are carried by long distances by the wind.”
Allergens begin impacting people across the country at different times, every month of the year. While the cold northern states typically have the longest period of relief, they too may have sweeping periods of high pollen counts during certain times of the year.
The earliest pollen season, it consists mainly of tree pollens, like those from the infamous Juniper tree, (also known as Mountain Cedar), the tree responsible for cedar fever, as well as various grass pollens. This season typically begins in January and primarily affects the Gulf Coast, southern California, the New Mexico Valley and parts of Texas, but expands nearly nationwide by mid-April. The impact and areas reached by these early pollens depend on a variety of factors, including weather patterns, wind, rain, and other environmental impacts.
The middle to end of April signals this pollen season as it begins to impact the northern plains, Great Lakes region and New England, with both tree and grass pollens. Hitting a peak near Memorial Day, the relatively warm weather in these regions is perfect for pollination, in contrast to southern states, which may already be experiencing high summer temperatures, limiting high pollen counts. However, across the country, strong weather patterns and increased wind levels can drastically and suddenly increase dust and other airborne particles, causing a spike in allergic reactions.
Moving into August, this final season of the year begins. The primary culprit? Ragweed. What is ragweed? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explains, “Ragweed is a weed that grows throughout the United States... Each plant lives only one season. But that one plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains.” As the plant’s pollen production spikes for 6 to 10 weeks during this part of the year, it causes a mass allergic reaction, primarily across the eastern two-thirds of the United States. In addition to ragweed being so widespread, traveling up to 400 miles, it is also one of the most impactful allergens, affecting nearly three-fourths of all allergy sufferers.
The good news for sufferers of ragweed allergies is that often its impacts are limited to a short amount of time, normally ending with the first fall frosts. However, while these cold temperatures typically indicate an end to the season, they are accompanied by a short, almost equally impactful second wave of grass pollens in the cooler days that follow.
The following lists show the top allergens per region, based on Google trends data.
There are many helpful tools you can use to maintain an understanding of what is in the air, including pollen. One extremely helpful tool is The Weather Channel’s Allergy Tracker. Like their weather forecasting tools, simply type in your city or zip code and instantly have a report on current conditions and a forecast for many allergens in your area. It’s also the perfect tool for traveling, giving you the advantage of being prepared for allergens in a different location well before you arrive.
No-one wants to deal with the hassle of allergies. There are many actions you can put into practice to get ahead of your allergies and limit their effect, lowering your chances of being negatively impacted.
Try these top 5 tips for beating allergies throughout the year to ensure you’re breathing better and living better.
We spend a lot of time sleeping. In fact, almost one-third of our lives is spent asleep, based on an average of 8 hours per night. Make sure you're sleeping and breathing well, thereby waking up significantly more refreshed and well rested, ready to take on the day. Accomplish this by washing your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets on at least a weekly basis to ensure they are free of dust, dander, pollen, and other allergens. If you have pets in your room or keep your windows open at night, you may need to do this more often, which leads us to our next tip.
Keep these portals to your home closed as often as possible. Also, ensure older window and door seals are in good shape, or replace old and worn seals with new ones, to keep the pollen out, and clean air in. Not only will you save yourself from the pain of allergies, but you may also save some money on your energy bill. Note: While we recommend keeping windows and doors closed to limit exposure to allergens, unfortunately, the air inside your house can become up to five times more polluted than it is outside.
Don’t worry! Keep reading to find out what you can do to clean and purify the air inside your home – and to take advantage of a special, limited-time offer here.
Pets naturally encounter a high level of pollen and other allergens due to the increased amount of time they often spend outdoors. If possible, try to limit behaviors which would increase these impacts, such as keeping dogs out of flower beds or tall grasses, not letting pets sleep in your bedrooms (difficult, we know!), and bathe your pets often to limit the number of allergens trapped in their fur. Or, you could always stick to having a pet fish, which are naturally low in pollen.
Limit the number of allergens inside your home that could circulate through your air by regularly cleaning weekly, or even more often, during times of high pollen and allergen counts. Many vacuums are now available with HEPA, or other small-particle, high-efficiency filters, thus removing allergens from carpets and limiting the amount recirculated into the air. Additionally, by dusting surfaces like countertops, furniture, and blinds, you can further remove other dust and allergens which may have gathered on them.
Many allergy sufferers, and in fact, those with any air concern, don’t realize you simply can’t guarantee the cleanest air with just one air purifier. The average home typically has 5-8 rooms, and we spend time in all of them to varying degrees. All air purifiers, regardless of make or model, are designed to circulate and clean the air in only one room. While certain purifiers, like our BreatheSmart 75i, are capable of quietly cleaning rooms up to 1,300 SqFt (think large living rooms or open floor plans) in as little as 30 minutes, even they can be limited by the walls, doors, multiple stories, and various layouts of the home.
We recommend utilizing a variety of air purifiers and filters, specifically selected for each room and air concern, in order to truly know your whole home, and every family member in it is breathing beautifully year-round.
There is a wide range of air purifiers on the market. From the classic tower design purifiers to more modern and sleek variations, like the Alen BreatheSmart family of purifiers, which not only address air concerns but also come in a variety of stylish designs to fit into any décor. Choosing a purifier can be a daunting task, especially if it’s the first time you are purchasing one. What to consider when thinking of buying an air purifier?
True HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, like those found in the 75i, are capable of capturing and destroying, at a molecular level, up to 99.97% of even the most minute particles (as small as 0.3 microns), which includes a wide range of allergens and offensive odors.
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