Spring Allergies, Here We Come

The beauty of spring is often overshadowed by its negative side effect: spring allergies.  With budding trees, flowers, grasses and weeds come some horrible symptoms for millions of people who suffer from allergies.  Today we’re taking a look at what causes spring allergies and ways to reduce the symptoms so you can enjoy springtime.

Spring Allergies, Here We Come

If you want to blame someone or something for your allergies, it would have to be your immune system.  Allergies are an over-response from the immune system.  When you come into contact with harmful substances, your body works hard to defend itself and remain healthy.  Allergens are not actually a threat to the body, but your body perceives them as such and goes into overdrive mode to protect you.  Most allergies form in childhood and once they are triggered, your body has the same response each time you come in contact with that allergen.  Sometimes allergies lead to more severe conditions like asthma, so treating your allergies or learning ways to cope with them is important for all allergy sufferers.

The most common indoor allergens are mold spores, pet dander and dust mites.  But in springtime, pollen from flowers, trees, grasses and weeds is the worst culprit of allergies.  Because pollen is the issue, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the pollen count in your area.  Avoid outdoor activities on days when the pollen count is highest, especially in the morning.  Also try to remain indoors on windy days when pollen will be extremely airborne.  Pawn off yard work to non allergy sufferers, but if you must be outside during high pollen season, wear a face mask and remove your clothes immediately afterwards.  For those with spring allergies, the best time to go outside is after a good rain.

You can take several measures in your home to avoid severe allergy symptoms too.  Use air conditioning in your home and car instead of rolling down the windows.  In your home, be sure your air filters are cleaned regularly.  Use a high efficiency particulate air vacuum to clean your home – it won’t spread the allergens you are trying to suck up back into the air.  Also use a dehumidifier to further assist keeping the air in your home free of allergens.

Many people rely on over-the-counter medications to help reduce symptoms of allergies.  There are several types recommended by allergists:  oral and inhaled antihistamines, decongestants and inhaled corticosteroids.  Antihistamines work well for many allergy sufferers in both a nasal spray and pill format.  They are not addictive but they may become less effective over time, meaning you should switch brands occasionally.  Antihistamines can cause drowsiness so if you are not taking it just before bedtime, find a non-drowsy brand.  Decongestants are meant for short term nasal and sinus issues, such as colds.  Although they may temporarily relieve congestion caused by allergies, taking them for longer periods of time can be dangerous.

There are also some natural remedies that work well for many people with spring allergies.  Consuming stinging nettle leaf, butterbur, apple cider vinegar or honey made in your area can all help reduce allergy symptoms.  Clearing your nasal passages may offer relief.  This can be achieved through steam showers, eating spicy foods, smelling strong aromas such as peppermint or eucalyptus oil or doing a nasal rinse. Probiotics should also help, in theory.  Much of immune health is based in the gut so balancing good flora in the intestines can support immune strength.

Spring allergies are no fun for anyone.  Hopefully with these tips you can find ways to reduce your spring allergy symptoms and enjoy the warm, beauty and radiance of springtime.

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