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Springtime brings April showers, May flowers and…allergies.
Like it or not, the spring months are notorious for runny noses and watery eyes. Adults and children alike are vulnerable when it comes to seasonal allergies, as pollen that is present in the air tends to find a home in the eyes, nose and mouth. This spring, it might be time to finally learn all about the different types of allergies and how to prevent them.
Many people blame the beautiful spring flowers for their allergies this time of year, when in fact, most springtime allergies come from trees and weeds. Individuals react differently to the types of pollen emitted from trees during the springtime, so the specific types can be difficult to identify. Some of the trees that tend to emit allergens include ash, birch, cypress, elm, hickory, maple, oak, olive, poplar, sycamore, walnut and western red cedar. Believe it or not, springtime allergies can actually start as early as February and last through many of the summer months as well!
Signs and Symptoms
Springtime allergies are generally easy to diagnose, but individuals can have vastly different reactions. While allergies rarely need diagnostic testing, they can lead to more severe responses such as asthma attacks if left untreated. Some of the symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Mouth or throat itchiness
- Nasal congestion
- Post-nasal drip
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of allergies, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor and develop a treatment plan. Nearly eight percent of Americans are diagnosed with seasonal allergies, so you are not alone. Check with your doctor to try to identify contributing factors, which can help you further prevent allergies once they flare up. Some common treatments for seasonal allergies include:
- Oral antihistamines
- Prescription eye drops
- Nasal steroid sprays
- Nasal irrigation systems, commonly called neti pots
In severe cases, your physician may refer you to an allergist, who can help determine the kind of allergies you have and how to treat or prevent them. Through a skin or blood test, the allergist will help you to avoid certain pollens during the months that your allergies are the worst. Some treatments may include allergy shots, which can help to desensitize your immune system and relieve your symptoms.
One of the ways you can prevent springtime allergies is by becoming aware of local pollen counts. Pollen counts are often reported on your media outlets but can also be tracked using various allergy apps. If a high pollen count is predicted, it is probably in your best interests to take your medications before the symptoms start.
If you succumb easily to springtime allergies, it is important to limit the time you spend outdoors. In order to reduce your exposure to allergy triggers, try to remain indoors during the morning hours, or during especially windy days, when the pollen count is highest. If you must venture outdoors, consider wearing a dust mask on days when your allergies are really acting up.
While staying inside may seem like a simple solution, there are further precautions you can take to ensure your allergies stay away. Keeping your windows closed is the first step to preventing allergens from entering your home. You can also vacuum and dust more frequently during the months that you experience symptoms. Finally, using an air filter can help eliminate allergen culprits as well.
Contact Your Physician
Springtime allergies can be extremely frustrating, but there are a number of treatment and prevention plans that can help ease your symptoms. When home remedies and treatments are not enough, it may be time to see your doctor. Contact your physician to develop a plan today.