KidsMD Health Topics

Pollen Allergy

  • Overview

    Pollen is the most common cause of “hay fever,” also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis.

    How do you treat allergies?

    Tell us how you treat allergies and see how others are answering on Boston Children's newest tool: MyViewPoints. We understand that coping with medical conditions, no matter what the type, can feel daunting and overwhelming. We also understand the healing power of a community; that’s why we created My View Points. We encourage you to use this space to share your experience, offer your advice and receive advice from others. Ask questions, offer answers and gain comfort in knowing there are others who have been down the same path as you.

  • In-Depth

    What is pollen?

    Pollen is a fine powdery substance, composed of microscopic cells that come from flowering plants, including trees, grasses and weeds. Plants that produce pollen include:

    • Oak, western red cedar, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar, sycamore, maple, cypress, walnut and other trees
    • Grasses such as Bermuda, timothy, orchard, sweet vernal, red top and some blue grasses
    • Weeds like ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed, tumbleweed, cockleweed and Russian thistle.
    • Most flowering plants, such as roses, have heavier, waxy pollens that do not trigger allergies

    When is pollen season?

    Every plant has its own pollen season, but in general pollen season lasts from the early spring until October.

    Are there ways to prevent or minimize hay fever during pollen season?

    • Keep windows closed at night and use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
    • Minimize your child’s outdoor activities between 5 and 10 a.m., when pollen is most prevalent.
    • Drive with the car windows closed.
    • When the pollen count is high, minimize the amount of time your child spends outdoors.
    • Do not permit your child to play in piles of raked leaves.
    • Do not hang your child’s bedding or clothing outside to dry.
    • Give your child the medications prescribed by your child’s physician.
    • Vacation in areas, like the seaside, where pollen is less prevalent.
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