Here are a few tips for pollen season which some of you likely are already feeling! 

The first spring time pollen to start up is cedar tree pollen, which is cross reactive with common landscaping bushes like arborvitae.  Cedar tree pollen generally starts up by mid-March, followed by other allergy causing tree pollens like birch, alder, cottonwood, poplar, oak, maple. 

Did you know that when you see the yellow-green pine pollen that coats our cars and patios, this is not a very allergy producing pollen. However, what we can’t see with the naked eye is grass pollen which is out in the air simultaneously with the pine pollen.  Our grass pollen season is mid-May to mid-July and can cause miserable symptoms for allergy sufferers such as itchy red watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy and/or runny nose.  Another sign that grass pollen allergy may be the cause of your symptoms is if you’re having allergies when you see the cottonwood seed fluffing about, AKA “summer snow.”  The cottonwoods pollinate earlier in the spring, but in June/July when you see cottonwood seed flying about, it’s the grass pollen that is causing your allergy symptoms. There is no cottonwood pollen in the “seed” that we see flying about. When our grass pollen season ends, the weed pollen season starts up and lasts until we get a few good frosts.

Some ideas that you can do at home to get some relief?

  • Pollen counts tends to be highest from about 5 am to 10 am, so you may want to consider moving your early morning outdoor exercise to the evening hours.
  • Shutting your windows by 5 am can help reduce pollen from entering your home.
  • And if you’ve spent the day outdoors, then when you come in for the evening, showering will help to remove the pollen from your skin and hair. 

Happy Spring! We hope this gives you some more insight on how to help manage your allergies naturally!

J. Watson is a Nurse Practitioner residing and working in Coeur d’Alene. She is a primary care provider with years of experience in allergy & asthma and is currently accepting new patients.