Laurie Menk Otto, ND, MPH

Naturopathic Medicine | Portland, Oregon

Pollen, pollen everywhere!

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Portlanders, have you heard? There are record amounts of pollen in the air. Are you feeling it?

pollen count 6-12-17

The Willamette Valley typically has among the highest grass pollen levels in the world, and this year is exceptional. Even those who typically do not have allergy symptoms are feeling it. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, eyes feeling sandy, stuffiness at night are all symptom of grass allergy that are high this time of year.

What can be done to reduce exposure? 

  • Avoid outdoor exposure before noon when pollen levels are at their highest.
  • Change clothes when arriving home, and remove shoes. Rinse hair and face (entire head if you can) after being outdoors, and especially before going to bed.
  • Keep bedroom windows closed.
  • Use the filter function on your car fan settings if you have them, or use the air conditioning. Keep windows closed.
  • Nasal rinses and eye drops help wash away irritating pollens.
  • Do not dry clothing outside

What else can be done?

  • Get evaluated for allergy. Knowing what you are allergic to will allow you to take action to reduce exposure, and decide on appropriate treatment. An appointment at my clinic takes about 90 minutes and is usually covered by insurance.
  • Get treated. There are many effective treatments available for allergy that include any combination of: exposure reduction, immunotherapy (allergy drops – available at my clinic – or shots), dietary change, medications, and supplements.
  • Importantly, take all medications for asthma as directed by your doctor in addition to any allergy control medications or supplements.

Author: Laurie Menk Otto ND, MPH

Dr. Laurie Menk Otto is a naturopathic physician at Reconstructed Wellness, adjunct faculty for Helfgott Research Institute, and holds a master's in public health from the University of Arizona. Contact: 503.323-3215 or

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