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Oak Pollen: 4 things you can do to fight back

Itchy eyes, scratchy throats, sneezing – and just a general grumpy disposition. Yes, we are at the peak of the oak pollen season.

If you were hoping the approaching cold front might offer some relief from the oak pollen (17,850 parts per cubic meter Tuesday morning), we have some very bad news for you. The concentration of oak in the air will be even greater Wednesday behind the front.

So what can you do? Here are four ways to fight back…

1. Don’t go out in the morning. Pollen tends to be worse between 6am and 10am.

2. But let’s face it, most of us have to go out in the morning. The boss needs you at work. But when you get back in, if at all possible, take a shower and change your clothes. Wash your hands as often as is practical. And leave your shoes outside.

3. Change your air conditioner filters. Your ordinary paper filter isn’t even designed to trap pollens. You need filters that can block much smaller particles. What you’re looking for are High Energy Particulate Air Filters (more commonly called HEPA filters). The top HEPA filters trap nearly all the pollen. These filters are more expensive and need to be changed much more often.

4. Take your meds! Antihistamines, nasal sprays, allergy shots and tablets. Work with your doctor or allergy specialist to see what works best for you.

The science is getting better.

“There are some sublingual immunotherapy tablets that people can use now,” explained Dr. Theodore Freeman.

Good luck. The oak season should be just about over by the second week of May.

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