Friday, April 18, 2008
Okay, so I've been hacking, sniffling and sneezing up a storm for the past two weeks. You know who I blame for this one? Mother Freakin' Nature! Yes, pollen season is whipping my behind here in the ATL. In case you didn't know - and I sure didn't until I moved here - lovely Atlanta has one of the highest pollen counts around...which blows when you happen to be allergic to the stuff. Today, for example, the
pollen count is about 691. Although that number is much lower than the 3,332 count we saw earlier this week, it's important to remember that anything over 120 is considered extremely high.
According to a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, experts say this pollen season could be particularly long and miserable thanks to a mild winter and recent rain. BLARGH!
Anyway, I've been trying to get rid of the sniffles and itchy eyes with packets of Emergen-C, Mucinex tablets and Claritin. Earlier in the week, when my scratchy throat nearly hindered conversation, I gargled saltwater every night and guzzled down cups of tea spiced with honey, cayenne pepper and ginger. So I now feel better than I did, but continue to have that icky "hay fever" feeling.
Well, after spending a few minutes today searching the Internet, I found some tips aimed at reducing the pollen-related allergy misery. Whatever helps, right?!
Around the House
• Wash hands and rinse eyes in cold water to clear residual pollen.
• Keep windows closed and the car sunroof shut.
• Change air filters once a month; wash electrostatic filters.
• Attic fans suck pollen into the house; don't use them.
• Outdoor pets are covered in ragweed; wash them frequently and don't let pets on the bed.
• Allergens linger in carpets and rugs; Vacuum frequently.
• Don't dry your laundry outside.
• Shower after spending extended time outdoors.
• Wear glasses or sunglasses outdoors to prevent pollen from irritating the eyes.
• Minimize your activity between 5 and 10 a.m when pollen is usually emitted.
• A prolonged rain scrubs pollen out of the air, but a brief downpour may cause settled particles to become airborne, raising pollen counts.
• Avoid mowing the lawn or raking leaves; if you cannot avoid yardwork, wear a pollen mask
Another interesting point, apparently up to one-third of people with seasonal allergies may also wind up with "pollen-food" syndrome - or itchiness, tingling or swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat after eating fresh fruits, veggies and other kinds of food. Experts say cooking these foods - rather than eating them raw - can help reduce or prevent any allergic reactions. Cooking veggies really isn't much of a stretch, but what to make with cooked fruit? Hmmmmm...Guess I'll just have to bake some sort of pie! WOO HOO! See? There's a silver lining to everything! So in an effort to follow doctors' orders, I think these two low-calorie, sugar-free recipes may be on the weekend's menu.
Baked Apple Turnovers