Ready for Spring? How to Survive the Allergy Season
Spring means warmth, sunshine and new life everywhere, with flowers blooming, new plants sprouting and the trees putting on fresh new leaves. It is a season most people look forward to after a long, cold winter. However, for those who are sensitive to pollen, those first signs of spring signal the start of spring allergy season, that transition from a gray winter world to the vivid colors of springtime marking the onset of new allergy symptoms.
About Spring Allergies
Spring allergies, also referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever, is a problem that begins in the immune system, which, in sensitive people, reacts to certain harmless pollens, or tiny plant proteins, as if they were viruses, bacteria or other hazardous invaders. The result of that reaction is allergy symptoms, which may include itchy, watery eyes, itching in the nose, throat or roof of the mouth, sneezing, nasal congestion and dark circles under the eyes. Depending upon the severity of a person’s sensitivity to springtime allergens, those symptoms can range from ones that cause mild discomfort to more severe symptoms that significantly impact quality of life, leading to frequent sinus infections, disrupting sleep or affecting daily productivity at work or school.
Early spring allergies are most commonly triggered by pollens released early in the season by wind-pollinated plants. Trees are a major culprit in causing symptoms. Pollen from birch, cedar, cottonwood and pine trees are very common triggers, and many sensitive individuals react to pollens from willow, poplar oak, mulberry, maple, juniper, aspen and box alder trees, among others. Grasses that release pollens early in the spring season are also common triggers, including bermuda, fescue, johnson, perennial rye, saltgrass and timothy varieties.
While pollen is usually associated with spring allergies, spores from mold reactivated by warming temperatures can also be a problem. In the spring, rotting vegetation from plants killed by the winter cold provides a good environment for growing mold. Allergic reactions to mold are similar to those from other spring allergens.
Dealing With the Symptoms of Spring Allergies
The best way to minimize symptoms is to avoid exposure to allergens as much as possible. That means paying attention to pollen level reports and staying indoors when pollen is high, showering immediately after spending time outdoors, using air conditioning to cool your home and car rather than open windows and vacuuming and dusting often to remove pollen that has found its way indoors.
Treatment for Seasonal & Pollen Allergy
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