Hurray! It’s finally spring. We can go outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, watch the flowers poke through the ground, and take a deep breath of fresh air. It isn’t so nice for the more than 40 million people who suffer from seasonal allergies.
April showers bring May flowers, but for some people they also bring on fits of sneezing, congestion, and runny noses.
All those budding flowers, plants and trees along with mold spores from the rain can make a person miserable. It is particularly hard on those who already suffer from asthma.
Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a short-term inflammation of the mucus membranes that line the nasal passages. One plant can produce a billion pollen grains in a season and the fact they are so light, they can travel as far as 400 miles.
All that pollen and mold is seen by your immune system as invaders. Chemicals are released to fight these invaders. An overproduction of these chemicals meant to help you can cause inflammation leading to the runny nose and itchy eyes.
Things you can do to help in allergy season…
- Reduce your exposure by staying indoors on windy days. Early morning is the best time to go outside for allergy sufferers. Check your local pollen count and stay in when the number is high.
- Ask others to do the lawn and gardening chores until your allergies clear.
- Do not hang your laundry outside. Pollen will stick to your clothing.
- Remove clothing after returning indoors and take a shower.
- Close doors and windows at night and when pollen counts are high, run the air-conditioner instead.
- Pets that go outside will bring allergens in on their coats. Have someone give them a good brushing and limit your exposure to them as much as possible.
- Keep your house clean and dust free.
- Consider buying a portable HEPA filter if you don’t have a whole house system.
Many OTC medications can give you some relief from your symptoms. Antihistamines will help with sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes.
Decongestants can relieve stuffiness, but don’t take more than the amount on the directions because that can actually worsen the symptoms. Nasal rinses with a squeeze bottle or neti pot helps flush out mucus.
You may need to see your Doctor if your symptoms do not clear up. They may do an allergy test to determine what is triggering your allergies.
Eventually your runny nose and itchy eyes will clear up. You shouldn’t let seasonal allergies stop you from going out and enjoying the great outdoors.