Q: When can I expect my seasonal pollen allergies to start to flare up?
A: Madison’s pollen levels have been high or very high for the last week and are expected to remain at least moderately high through next week. That’s according to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health pollen counting station.
The high levels of pollen in Madison are mostly coming from trees, though low pollen concentrations are coming from weeds and grasses, according to the pollen counting station.
Pollen from trees, weeds and grass is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Mold is also a common trigger of seasonal allergies.
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Early in the spring, budding and flowering trees contribute to seasonal allergy suffering, but later in the spring, pollen from grasses help contribute, according to UW Health. In the late summer and early fall, ragweed is the primary cause of symptoms.
Pollen allergy symptoms are sometimes called hay fever and can include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth, red and watery eyes and swelling around the eyes, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
To help alleviate symptoms, sufferers can keep windows closed and use air conditioning, stay indoors when the pollen or mold levels are high, avoid hanging sheets or clothes outside or shower or change clothes after an extended period outside, according to UW Health.
In addition, allergy shots and prescription and over-the-counter medications can help treat symptoms.