Do you suffer from spring allergies? If so, I bet you have tried everything to rid your nose of the itchy, scratchy, sneezy feeling it endures every March – June: over the counter medications, prescription drugs, home remedies, allergy shots, and even sleeping with the air conditioner on! However, if your symptoms still persist, perhaps you need to clean out your gutters.
According to Beth Corn, M.D., an allergist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, branches bud, blossom, and release pollen March through June in the United States. What this means is that spring’s top allergen offenders also happen to be clogging your gutter system! That’s right; your allergies have been hiding and collecting right underneath your nose all spring. With that said, here is a definitive list of top allergens that may be seeking refuge in your gutters:
1. Oak – Oak trees peak February through March and each spring they produce hanging “catkins”, which are the tassels that hang from newly sprouted leaves and bear clusters of small flowers (see image below). During the spring, the catkins fall from oak trees onto your roof and lawn in an attempt to disperse pollen and create what is commonly known as an acorn.
2. Elm – Not to be confused with its cousin the Cedar Elm, this popular tree is often found providing shade to neighborhood streets. During the spring months, Elm trees drop pine pollen to the ground. The pine pollen falls onto sidewalks, lawns, and even your gutters. While this tree is nice to look at, its pollen is terrible for both your gutters and your allergies!
3. Maple – Maple trees are the most popular neighborhood tree in the northeast and also the messiest. During the spring, maple trees release pollen in the form of “helicopter” seeds. These seeds are called samaras or a maple keys and they spin like helicopters when they fall to the ground. Although maple trees look fun and beautiful, a singletree can release hundreds of “helicopters” at a time, causing clogs and debris to quickly buildup in your gutter system.
4. Birch – Did you know that people who are allergic to Birch trees also run the risk of being allergic to certain foods? Almonds, apples, carrots, celery and kiwi are just a few foods that can trigger the same allergen. A close relative to the oak tree, birch trees bare similar tassels that hang from its leaves. These tassels eventually fall off the birch branches and land on your roof and in your gutters. Be on the lookout for these purplish yellow seeds in the early spring months.
5. Mulberry – Mulberry trees are not indigenous to the northeastern United States; rather, they were brought over from China, Japan and Thailand in the early 1700’s. Famous for its fruit and loaded with round, green leaves, Mulberry trees are fast growing and shed hundreds of small green flowers in early spring. When this occurs, gutters become clogged with the highly allergenic pollen (the main contributor to hay fever) and if left unclean, can make your entire household quite sick.
It’s important to keep in mind that allergies act up on warm and windy spring days, as seeds are shaken from tree branches and released into the air. Although Ned Stevens cannot issue allergy prescriptions, we can dole out some advice.
1. From March – June, make sure to stay inside between the hours of 5:00am and 10:00am, as the pollen count is at its highest during these hours.
2. Keep car windows closed while driving.
3. Avoid the outdoors on cloudy, rainy or windy days. Wind kicks up dry pollen and sends it swirling into the air and into your gutters.
4. If a tree in your yard is clearly causing a member of your family to become allergic, remove it or prune back the branches to reduce the amount of pollen it generates.
5. Call Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning! Our highly trained and professional staff will clean out the gunk in your gutter system, easing your sneezes and watering eyes. Spring into action and visit our website to schedule an appointment. You can also call us 7 days a week at 800.542.0267.