Spring is finally here after a long, cold winter where we saw record snows in Connecticut. But with the welcome warm weather, daffodils, and budding trees comes something not quite as pleasant…seasonal allergies. For people that suffer with spring allergies, this beautiful time of year can be pretty uncomfortable. Knowing what causes spring allergies and how to relieve your symptoms can help you enjoy the beauty of this time of year without constant sneezing, a runny nose, or itchy, watery eyes.
Spring allergies are often triggered by pollen being released into the air by trees, grasses and weeds as they germinate and grow. When pollen gets into the nasal passages or eyes of someone who’s allergic, the human immune system reacts by releasing antibodies to attack the pollen. This defense mechanism causes the allergens to release histamines, which cause the allergic reactions people suffering with spring allergies know all too well.
When pollen counts are high, allergies get worse. Some experts are predicting that 2013 will be especially bad for seasonal allergies, so now is the time to start taking necessary precautions. Allergy symptoms can be particularly bad on breezy days when the wind picks up pollen and circulates it through the air. But wet days cause a drop in pollen counts because rain washes away allergens, providing some relief.
The symptoms of spring allergies include runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and sometimes a scratchy throat and coughing. Spring allergies can also trigger asthma attacks, so asthma sufferers should be especially careful this time of year. If you’ve never been diagnosed with spring allergies but you notice that your eyes and nose are itchy and uncomfortable during the spring months, a visit to your doctor can help confirm your condition. You may be referred to an allergist for additional testing to determine exactly what you are allergic to. This information will help your medical team develop a plan to fight back against your allergies. Spring allergies can be treated with antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops and nasal sprays, depending on each person’s unique symptoms.
It’s nearly impossible to completely avoid seasonal allergies if you live in an area with high pollen activity in the spring, but symptoms can be managed effectively in most cases. Try to stay indoors whenever the pollen count is high. Pollen counts usually peak in the morning. Keep doors and windows closed whenever possible to keep spring allergens out. An air purifier may also help. If you have air filters in your home, clean them often along with shelves, windowsills and other places where pollen tends to collect. Vacuuming and sweeping more often in the spring can also help remove allergens from your home.
Allergies can take the enjoyment out of being outdoors during this beautiful time of year for seasonal allergy sufferers, but with the right knowledge and game plan in place, you can fight back and breath easier.