12 Ways to Reclaim Spring from Allergies
10. POLLEN STOPPERS
Showering and brushing off pets are strategies for reducing indoor pollen and controlling hay fever. But if you need more help, a non-pharmaceutical tactic for milder allergies is the pollen blocker. They may look like another nasal spray or cream, but blockers are biologically inert and stop pollen from interacting with your nose.
The blockers could stand more clinical studies to bolster their credibility, but a handful have found that users reduced hay fever symptoms and medication use, and were better able to breathe through their noses.
A cream form, Dr. Theiss Alergol Pollen Blocker Cream, is available online, and a fine misting nose spray powder, Nasal Ease is available at Walgreen’s.
11. ROBOT THAT MOWS
Those with grass allergies might consider improving their breathing this spring by leaving the lawn-mowing to someone else. Or, something else. Kyodo America makes six models of the LawnBott, which will meander through your yard quietly trimming, while you’re safely removed from the grass pollen.
The bot has sensors and bumpers to keep it on the lawn and out of flowerbeds. Prices range from $1,200 to $5,000, and higher end models come with a rain detector and theft alarm.
Also on the market is the Robomow, an automated mower that will mulch the grass it cuts and leave it on the lawn. Models are available on Amazon.com for between $1,600 and $2,500.
To minimize allergy aggravation, keep the grass short (and not pollinating) by cutting it frequently.
12. LOBBY FOR ‘SMART’ TREES
Your own actions could help to reclaim spring (and future springs) in your hometown. Writing a letter to city hall and your school board to encourage allergy-friendly planting programs could prompt action, especially if others to do the same.
Pollen’s effects can cause sleeplessness, followed by fatigue and poor concentration and even asthma attacks. One city that now takes tree pollination seriously is Albuquerque, where a boy died from an asthma attack after falling into a pollinating juniper bush. That led to a pollen control ordinance, which includes making it illegal to plant a male cypress or mulberry tree within city limits. Las Vegas, Tuscon and Phoenix have followed with similar rules.
But outside that pocket of enlightenment, urban foresters across North America are still planting some of the most allergenic trees available. The practice is considered compatible with healthy forest regeneration, but the fact is that few forestry departments have weighed the benefits to humans of reducing numbers of male trees.
If every allergy sufferer were to tell city hall just how big a wallop some trees can pack, local governments would likely re-consider new landscaping and tree replacement. There are, after all, millions of us who could speak up this spring. New shots, sprays, pills and gadgets are increasingly making our allergies manageable. But how wonderful would it be to step out on a fine spring day under a canopy of trees that didn’t make you sneeze at all.