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John Weisnagel, MD 

Pollen is produced by all flowering plants. Pollen coming from trees, grasses and weeds (especially ragweed) can cause allergic symptoms in the sensitive individual. These symptoms are usually referred to as 'hay fever': sneezing, itchy and runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, swollen eyes, cough and at times asthma symptoms (shortness of breath and wheezing.) Symptoms occur in April and May when caused by tree pollen, June and July by grass pollen, and August and September when due to ragweed pollen. The pollen is very light and wind-borne, at times great distances from its origin:

  • drafts should be avoided, especially when driving or riding, and not only in the country.

  • walks through fields or woods are to be avoided to diminish unnecessary exposure to large quantities of pollen. Mowing the lawn, being there when mowing is done, and hay should be avoided.

  • alcoholic beverages are to be avoided as well as certain foods such as berries, peaches, grapes, watermelon, cucumbers and bananas. These could bring on symptoms. Because of allergenic similarities some foods, particularly fruit (peaches, apples, etc.) and nuts can also cause itchiness of lips and throat in pollen sensitive individuals. 

  • keep away from flower gardens and do not keep flowers in the house during pollen seasons.

  • keep nose and eyes above water when swimming in pools to avoid chlorine irritation.

  • take antihistamines or other medications prescribed if symptoms occur whether on injections (immunotherapy or hyposensitization) or not.

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