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Allergy Awareness Behavior Environment

Spring Is In The Air, Unfortunately So Are Allergens

2 months ago

3601  0
Posted on Mar 15, 2024, 5 p.m.

Ah Spring, the wonderful time of year when the cold begins to fade away, trees and flowers start to blossom revealing splashes of fresh vibrant colors and sleeping wildlife comes out of hiding. How wonderful and glorious! But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, all these pretty changes in scenery may make you feel worse, not better, how lovely for us. Perfect--not!

Spring also brings with it a whole lot of pollen, which is a powdery substance that is made by trees, weeds, and grasses. While pollen is pretty much harmless to most people if you have seasonal allergies, your body can mistake pollen for something more dangerous and try to attack it, and this reaction causes some uncomfortable symptoms like coughing, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and itchy, watery eyes. 

If you are like me this is a love-hate time of year. Yes, bring on the warm weather and awaken nature, but why does it have to feel like nature is trying to attack me? No, I’m not sick, my nose thinks that nature is trying to poison me, and my allergies have me relearning how to see and breathe.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, to add to these “joyful” symptoms, many people with seasonal allergies also have asthma, which may bring with it shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and other less desirable symptoms to the experience. 

All these bothersome symptoms can often be confused as having a cold and cause people to stare and shun you as if you had the plague. However, unlike a cold, most unfortunately, seasonal allergies typically last longer than a week or two. If you have some or all of these symptoms and are looking for relief, it may be a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to find out what kind of pollen it is that you are allergic to. 

A skin test or allergen-specific blood test can help determine what is causing the allergic reactions. Sometimes seasonal allergies can also be diagnosed based on when the symptoms begin to develop. For example, grasses shed pollen in late spring and summer. Ragweed produces pollen in the fall. Tree pollen typically appears in spring. Mold spores are more troubling, causing allergic reactions during the spring, summer, and fall. Mold spores can also cause year-round symptoms for those living in dwellings with too much moisture (signs of too much moisture include high humidity, water damage, and poor ventilation).

Allergies often “run in the family”, if your parents or siblings have seasonal allergies, chances are more likely you will suffer with them too. If no one else in your family has allergies, but you do, you're just one of the "lucky" ones. 

When you find out what you are allergic to you may be able to find an over-the-counter product that provides relief. Your healthcare provider may suggest saline rinses to help ease nasal congestion or antihistamines to help relieve your runny nose, sneezing, and uncomfortable itchy eyes. Sometimes antihistamines contain decongestants, but these medicines are not for everyone, and your provider might suggest a nasal spray instead. 

Those with more serious cases may require allergy shots that provide relief by reducing your immune system's reaction to a specific pollen or other allergens over time. 

No one can predict how bad an allergy season is going to be, but if you keep an eye on your local forecast for pollen counts it can help to avoid venturing out on particularly bad days of pollen assault. 

I try to stay inside as much as possible on windy days when pollen will be blasted everywhere and on days with peak pollen counts. 

If I have to go out on those days I wear a mask outside if I am going to be in an area with lots of grass, trees, and flowers that will be targeting me with their pollen.

I shake myself off as best as possible to avoid bringing pollen inside, and brush off my dog before going in as well to prevent allergens from hitching a ride inside that may be stuck to its fur.

Outdoor chores like cutting the grass and gardening may stir up allergens, so wearing a mask and gloves may be helpful. 

It is important to have a good screen on windows if they are going to open, on bad days try to keep them shut and use a fan and/or air conditioner. 

If you are using an air conditioner, make sure to use a good filter to catch allergens and change it frequently. Sorry, but this is a case when choosing the cheapest one is a bad idea. Remember you get what you pay for. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.

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This article was written by Tamsyn Webber at WHN

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