Spring is in full bloom! And so are our dreaded spring allergies. Unfortunately, spring is the peak season for allergies.
Pollen is the primary allergen for spring allergies
As we emerge from winter and plants bloom, pollen counts begin to rise. The biggest trigger for spring allergies, pollen is most likely what is causing you to not feel your best. When this allergen enters the system of someone who may be sensitive or allergic, it tells the immune system that something is wrong. Our bodies believe they are under attack, mistaking the pollen for danger. This reaction causes our bodies to release a chemical called histamines into our bloodstream. A high histamine count in the blood is what causes the annoying symptoms we know as allergies.
Pollen is often found in trees, grass, and weeds, and it can travel for miles. Pollen count tends to be high both in the morning and on breezy days, when the wind picks up and carries the pollen. Symptoms of allergies may include congestion, runny noses, sneezing, itchy eyes, and dark undereye circles.
Tips for minimizing pollen
Although some pollen encounters are inevitable, being proactive about reducing your pollen intake can help stop your symptoms before they become too bothersome. Below are a few quick tips to help you decrease your pollen intake.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. Remember that they are typically higher in the morning, so pushing your morning walk to the evening may be a good option if you struggle with allergies.
- Keep windows and doors closed to limit pollen from entering your home.
- Shower after you’ve been outside. Pollen can attach itself to your hair or clothes, following you around and causing those annoying symptoms.
- Clean your home as much as possible. Vacuuming and dusting can take care of any sneaky pollen in your home.
- Replace your air filter when needed to ensure that you are breathing in clean and pollen-free air.
Finding relief from your allergies
The first step in finding some relief this season is to contact your primary care physician. They can diagnose you with seasonal allergies, refer you to a board-certified allergist, and give you some recommendations on different ways to keep the symptoms of seasonal allergies at bay. Let’s look at some potential options to help you find relief:
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by lowering the amount of histamines in your body that cause these symptoms. These over-the-counter drugs can reduce the annoying sniffling and sneezing that spring allergies often bring.
- Decongestants: If spring pollen is giving you a runny nose, try reaching for a decongestant. This medicine shrinks the inflamed blood vessels in the nasal passageways, giving you more room to breathe through your nose.
- Nasal spray: Another great way to combat runny noses is a nasal spray, which works by clearing clogged nasal passageways.
- Eye drops: Over-the-counter eye drops can temporarily relieve itchy or red eyes that may be caused by the spring pollen.