Spring is a wonderful time of year! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the trees and flowers are blooming . . . and spring allergies are ruining your day.
Spring allergies can actually start in February and last until early summer. Allergies are very common (up to 30% of people in the United States are affected by them), but there are things you can do to lesson the symptoms and get through the season.
What causes spring allergies?
Allergies occur when your body tries to fight off a foreign substance, such as tree pollen. Your body thinks that the pollen is dangerous to you, so it launches an attack against it.
As soon as you come into contact with the pollen, your body produces histamines to combat it. Histamines create inflammation, which triggers all of the other symptoms.
Symptoms of spring allergies
Spring allergies affect everyone differently. Some people have mild symptoms, like sneezing and a stuffy nose. For others, symptoms can be more severe and include postnasal drip, ear congestion, itchy or red eyes, wheezing and/or hives. Some lucky people get all of these symptoms at the same time.
When your body is busy trying to fight off the allergen, you may also feel tired or foggy. This is because energy is being diverted and it leaves you depleted.
None of this sounds pleasant, especially if it goes on for weeks, or even months, at a time.
How to combat spring allergies
There are many different ways to treat spring allergies, both naturally and by using medications. Most people find that their symptoms are best managed by using a combination of methods. They may also have to try a few different brands to figure out what works best for their body. Hopefully, one of the following treatments can provide you with relief.
1. Stay inside
Probably the simplest way to treat spring allergies is to try and avoid the allergens. Close your windows and stay inside as much as possible. Of course, you will have to leave the house at some point, but you should try to avoid prolonged exposure to the outdoors.
2. Nasal spray
There are saline nasal sprays available over the counter. Saline sprays rinse out your nasal passage, thin mucous and help you breathe easier.
Steroid nasal sprays can be prescribed by your doctor. These decrease inflammation in your nose, which alleviates the allergy symptoms.
3. Eye drops
Again, there are over the counter and prescription ones available. Eye drops soothe irritated eyes and relieve itching and redness. They work quickly, but may need to be used several times throughout the day.
4. Cough drops
Post nasal drip can irritate your throat and cause a chronic cough. Many people find that cough drops can help ease this.
Medications like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec work by blocking the histamines that your body produces. This stops most, if not all, allergy symptoms.
Sometimes people have to try one medication for a week and see if it helps them. If it does not, try a different medication until you find the right one for your body. There is some trial and error involved, but this is a quick, easy way to knock out allergy symptoms.
For the most up to date pollen counts, treatments, medications and statistics, visit The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. They are the leading experts in the field and have links to other resources on their page.
Spring allergies can make you miserable, but with the right combination of treatments, you will be back to yourself in no time. If you have another trick that works for you, I would love to hear about it! Post a comment and let The Evil Mommy know how you are dealing with spring allergies.
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