This March is giving us a taste of spring in several parts of the country, with sunny days and temperatures above normal. For many, there is anticipation in hearing the sound of birds sing again, along with warmer, longer days and flowering buds; but to others, it is also a tough time due to suffering through pollen allergies.
Experts are forecasting this year as being one the worst pollen seasons in decades in many parts of the world. In Sweden, it's expected to be the worst since the measurements began 45 years ago. One reason for this is last year's extremely hot summer, which meant that the trees produced more shoots.
Throughout North America and Europe, the season is divided into three parts, depending on the type of pollen: Tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed (North America)/mugwort (Europe), even though many other places throughout the world follow this pattern. The high temperatures in February throughout Europe have already started this year's season.
Cold or allergy?
Pollen allergies, also called hay fever, are associated with red and itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose and fatigue, but can also cause asthmatic problems. If most pollen allergy symptoms correspond to a classic cold, how can you tell the difference?
While coughing and a sore throat are more common during colds, eye irritations a runny nose, and frequent sneezing are more associated with "allergies". What sets them apart is the duration. A common cold usually lasts a week, but allergy symptoms may persist throughout a whole season.
How to protect yourself from pollen allergies
How businesses will cope with allergy season
Here is a worthwhile article showing what businesses are doing to help keep their employees more comfortable, healthier and avoid setbacks due to pollen and airborne allergies.
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