Springtime Allergies

Spring is officially here! This is such an exciting time of year for me – I love to watch everything turn green and beautiful again, get the grill out, sit on the deck and take the dog for long walks. The fresh air and sunshine just do wonders for my mood. However, millions of people may disagree with me. These people would be those suffering from springtime allergies.

Allergies can affect people at all times of the year, but pollinating trees are the main cause of springtime allergies. Pollen is released by the trees and carried to other trees of the same kind to fertilize new seeds. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America“Pollen travels best on warm, dry, breezy days.” The trees that are triggering your allergies right could be:

  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Box elder
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Oak

 Also commonly called hay fever, springtime allergies can bring on a number of symptoms that cause people to be just plain miserable: sneezing, congestion, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, itchy nose and throat, swollen, watery, itchy eyes. Some people with severe allergies may even experience asthma attacks. But how do you know if you are fighting a cold or suffering from allergies? Well, if you seem to get this “cold” around the same time every year and it seems to linger for quite some time, chances are, your symptoms are caused by allergies. Also, your itchy eyes, nose and throat are a good indication that you have allergies rather than a cold. The only way to be 100% sure is to be tested by a doctor. This is especially important if you experience more severe symptoms that could become a serious problem.

But wait – there IS good news – you don’t have to suffer! One of the most important steps to getting relief is attempting to reduce your exposure to your allergy triggers in the first place.

  • Stay inside as much as possible on dry, windy days.
  • If you have to do things outdoors like mow and pull weeds, remove the clothes you have worn outside and shower off to rinse the pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Even though it makes your laundry smell wonderfully fresh, don’t hang anything outside to dry. Pollen can actually stick to fabrics.
  • Use air conditioning rather than opening your windows – especially on those windy days.
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry inside your house.

If trying to limit your exposure isn’t doing the trick, there are many over-the-counter medications that you can take to help relieve symptoms; medications such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Sudafed and Benadryl (which may cause drowsiness). However, nonprescription drugs may still not do it for you and then you may need to move on to prescription medication. These could include oral medication, nasal sprays or allergy shots. According to Consumer Reports, most people who see a doctor for their allergies end up feeling much better either because the doctor prescribed an effective medication or the doctor was able to help them choose the appropriate over-the-counter drug.

Go see your doctor to determine the best way to manage your symptoms. Don’t let springtime allergies prevent you from enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.