Tree pollen to kick off Nebraska allergy season

UNMC allergist provides tips for those with allergies

Trees in Nebraska will begin pollinating this month and be in full swing in April. Grass pollen tends to begin in May or June. And ragweed will be along around Aug. 15, give or take a day or two.

For many Nebraskans that means sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy and runny noses and watery eyes.

“I think this week and next week we will start seeing the tree pollen count go up,” said Jill Poole, M.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center allergist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine. “The trees begin pollinating in March and expect to be in full swing by early to mid-April. So, this is the time to get allergy medications out, refill prescriptions, and start using nose sprays and antihistamines.”

She said it’s wise to take action before allergy season is in full swing.

Allergic rhinitis, or allergies, are reactions of the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance. In the spring, summer and fall, tiny pollen grains are released from trees, weeds and grasses into the air.

About 20 percent to 40 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.

Dr. Poole said if you have allergy symptoms and over-the-counter medications don’t work well, she recommends getting tested.

Here are tips on how to lessen the uncomfortable effects of allergies: 

  • Tree pollen is hardy and once it gets in the home, it can be a longer lasting pollen. Closing windows will keep the pollen from being in your bedroom where you sleep.
  • After you’ve been outside, it’s helpful to change your clothes and wash your hands and face or even take a shower.
  • Try over-the-counter nasal-sinus irrigation products. Avoid nasal decongestant sprays.
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines are non-sedating and can also be beneficial.
  • If you don’t find relief, see an allergist.

For more information about allergies, go to www.aaaai.org.

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Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190