Nasal allergies, pollen, you Published May 3, 2013 By Lt. Col. Victor L. Ortiz 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- For many people with history of nasal allergies, pollen can be the reason why of many sneezy, unhealthy days and nights. Springtime is associated with an increase of nasal allergy cases due to the high concentrations of pollen in the air. Pollen from trees begins to release between January and May, depending on the climate and location. However, spring is not the only allergy season because plants pollinate year round. Summertime is when Grass pollen reigns supreme during summer months and weed pollen takes control of the fall. What is pollen? Pollen is a plant's only form of reproduction and it is produced in mass quantities. Pollens spread by the wind; it is carried in the air and can land in a person's eyes, nose, lungs and on skin. Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds are the main cause of allergies. Take in consideration that the weather has a major influence on pollen dispersal; the pollen level increase or decrease depending in humidity, rain and winds. How pollen can affect individuals? For people with allergies, pollen is an allergen that causes an allergic reaction. An allergic person's immune system treats pollen as an invader and responds by mobilizing to attack by producing large amounts of antibody, increasing the histamines level in the body. This allergic reaction can cause the following symptoms: itchy watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, hives, fatigue and irritability. Can I prevent nasal allergies? Watch the pollen in your area through the Allergy Bureau's website for a daily ranking of allergens. Coordinate your outdoor activities in accordance with the pollen concentrations. Stay indoors when levels are high. Wash your hair at night to rinse the pollen out. To help keep your nose clean, try a saline sinus rinse. If you have questions call your primary care manager at the 22nd Medical Group. We are here to serve you.