Pollen is back in Mobile: How to protect yourself from seasonal allergies

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Whether you like it or not, pollen is back in Mobile and it’s here to stay for the next six months.

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In a 2023 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated nearly 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. The figure included 25.7% of American adults and 18.9% of children.

“I always say when you start seeing a lot of pollen and green stuff on your car, its usually the next six months you’re going to have allergy problems,” Dr. Ann Payne-Johnson, a family medicine physician at USA Health, said.

Seasonal allergies can be caused by more than just pollen; mold, pets, trees, and grass could also bring on allergies.

The most common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, running nose, watery eyes and itchy throat. In severe cases, allergies can lead to sinus infections.

Unfortunately, there’s no 100% way to avoid pollen; however, Payne-Johnson offered tips on how to limit contact with pollen. For outdoor allergies, she recommended people should keep their cars clean and keep windows closed.

“I’ve got tons of trees out here at work, so I try to go through the car wash at least twice a week to get the pollen off,” Payne-Johnson said.

Payne-Johnson said pets tend to bring in pollen from outside. She recommended people keep their pets clean and off of beds and couches.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people could get by with brushing off a sneeze or cough as allergies. In a post-COVID world, however, Payne-Johnson urged people to air on the side of caution.

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“If you come in and you’ve got a runny nose or what you think is allergies, we’re going to test you first to make sure it’s not [COVID-19],” Payne-Johnson said.

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