Spring is in the Air

Spring is beautiful, but it's also a key time of year for seasonal allergies. As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay fever start to sniffle and sneeze.

There's no cure but you can take steps to curb springtime allergies, from medication to household habits.

Causes

The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. Trees, grasses, and weeds release these tiny grains into the air to fertilize other plants. When they get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the body's defenses haywire.

The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms that are all too familiar if you have allergies.

Pollen can travel for miles, so it’s not just about the plants in your neighborhood.

Triggers include:

Trees: Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Box elder, Cedar, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Hickory, Juniper, Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pine, Poplar, Sycamore, Willow

Grasses and Weeds: Bermuda, Fescue, Johnson, June, Orchard, Perennial rye, Redtop, Saltgrass, Sweet vernal, Timothy

Pollen counts tend to be particularly high on breezy days when the wind picks up these sneeze-inducing grains and carries them through the air. Rainy days, on the other hand, wash away the allergens.

Symptoms you may have:

  • Runny Nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circle under the eyes

There are many medicines that can ease the symptoms of allergies. They include:

  • Antihistamines reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching by lowering the amount of histamine in your body.
  • Decongestants shrink the blood vessels in the nasal passageways to relieve congestion and swelling.
  • Antihistamine/decongestant combos combine the effects of both drugs.
  • Nasal spray decongestants relieve congestion and may clear clogged nasal passages faster than oral decongestants without some of the side effects.
  • Steroid nasal sprays ease inflammation and are the preferred initial treatment. Only three, budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy), fluticasone (Flonase), and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR), are available over the counter. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can help prevent hay fever by stopping the release of histamine before it can trigger allergy symptoms.
  • Eye drops relieve itchy, watery eyes. Ketotifen (Zaditor) is available over the counter.

Even though you can buy these allergy drugs without a prescription, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first to make sure you choose the right medication. Some antihistamines can make you feel sleepy, so be careful if you take them during the day. Non-drowsy types are also available. If you feel like you need over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants for more than a few days, talk to your doctor./p>

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-allergies#2

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