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Spring is in the air, which means flowers are in bloom, birds are chirping and warmer weather is finally here. However, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, spring may take on a whole new meaning.
Allergies are one of the most common health conditions affecting both children and adults and while they can occur anytime, they are especially prevalent during spring when plants are blooming. Unfortunately, the window of time that seasonal allergies can affect people is much longer than the season itself.
“Spring allergies are caused by trees, grass and flower pollen and can begin as early as February or March depending on weather and may last as late as July,” says Coordinated Health Primary Care Physician Seth Burkey, M.D.
Pollen, which are tiny grains released by trees, grasses and weeds, is the biggest spring allergy trigger. If you are allergic to pollen, your immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergen. That leads to chemicals called histamines being released in the blood that trigger allergy symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of allergies include red, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, coughing and general itching. He says that while allergies can mimic a cold or sinus infection, there are differences. “Colds and sinus infections are generally caused by a virus and include fevers, body aches and fatigue and last about five to ten days. They are usually treated with rest, hydration and over the counter medication,” he says.
Dr. Burkey says there are a variety of ways to treat allergies. “Treatment includes avoidance if possible of the offending allergen, as well as an over the counter selective histamine. Decongestants and nasal steroids are also affective.”
Your Spring Allergy toolkit:
Just because you suffer from spring allergies, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the outdoors! Keep an allergy toolkit nearby so you are ready for anything.