Seasonal allergies, commonly known as “hay fever”, can wreak havoc on your beautiful spring day- rendering you incapacitated from runny noses, perpetual sneezing and head-throbbing stuffiness. For those who suffer from this malady, finding relief is an ongoing cornucopia of pills, tissues, neti pots, nasal sprays and pills.
Typical triggers for seasonal allergies include:
- pollens from trees
- grasses or weeds
- and mold spores
Most of us can inhale these particles with no problems. For those unfortunate among us, seasonal allergens trigger the immune system to attack these harmful substances in the body.
Seasonal allergies are typically lifelong, but symptoms can get better or worse over time.
How Are Seasonal Allergies Diagnosed?
If these symptoms sound familiar, you’ve probably got seasonal allergies:
- stuffy nose
- runny nose
- lots of sneezing
- itchy, watery or red eyes
- “allergic shiners” which resemble black eyes
- or sore throat.
Seasonal allergies can be tested for, but most diagnoses are made during a doctor’s exam. Tests, such as allergy skin testing, can help determine specific allergen. For a skin test, a doctor will put a drop of the allergen under the skin and see if your skin reacts to it by turning red and bumpy.
The Perpetual Challenge— Managing and Treating This Seasonal Upset
The easiest way to avoid the onset of allergies is to avoid the allergen. Rocket science, huh?
To keep your sanity, you can:
- stay indoors (sad but true).
- keep windows in your home and car closed during peak pollen days.
- remove and wash your clothes immediately when you enter your home.
- shower and wash your hair after spending any time outdoors.
- use a neti pot to help alleviate nasal congestion (this is a nasal rinse with clean, salt water and helps remove the allergen from the nose.
- use a saline nasal spray to keep the nose moist and free from allergens.
- avoid foods that can cause congestion during allergy attacks, such as dairy and meat products.
- take antihistamines when symptoms are bad or before you’re exposed to an unavoidable outdoor experience.
And when things get really bad, talk with your doctor about your prescription options. There are a multitude of options available and your doctor will help you choose one that fits your needs and your lifestyle.
Most of us relish the coming spring months— sunshine abounds, Mother Nature comes alive and we’re reminded of the ongoing cycles of life. Hopefully some of this information will help those of you who dread the blooming of flowers and trees find a little solace and start to enjoy the beauty of nature this Spring.