Does the thought of spring have you slamming windows shut and running for the Kleenex? If so, you are one of the 30% of people who suffer from spring allergies. If the thought of blooming flowers and warm temperatures fills you with dread instead of joy, read on.
Oh, My Runny Nose: What Causes Spring Allergies?
If you have an allergic reaction, congratulations: your immune system is working. Unfortunately, it works a little too hard to protect you against what your body sees as a threat. The process of your immune system in overdrive is an allergic reaction.
An allergen is anything that causes these uncomfortable reactions. For some, it’s peanuts or shellfish but for you, it’s spring pollen. Allergic reactions begin after repeated exposures to the allergen.
When your body is exposed to your trigger allergen, it releases histamines. Histamines are chemicals that encourage your body to get rid of unwanted substances. Tears, a runny nose, and sneezing are examples of your body trying to rid itself of allergens.
Can I Stop My Spring Allergies Before They Start?
You can act now to minimize the effect of your spring allergy symptoms. Some common ways are medications and visits to an allergist. Let’s review a few of the more effective ways to control your spring allergies.
Know Your Allergens
If you aren’t entirely sure what is causing your allergies, you should identify the sources. The most common triggers are tree pollens and mold. Every tree that blooms in spring releases pollen, but that doesn’t mean you are allergic to all of them.
Monitor Reported Allergen Levels
Most weather forecasts give pollen warnings daily. If your favorite station doesn’t offer this, check out this online pollen alert. If the pollen count is high, stay indoors and close the windows.
The highest pollen counts are between 5am and 10am. If you need to work outside, wait until later in the morning.
Over the Counter Medications
Pharmacies stock medications known as anti-histamines. These medications block the chemicals that cause spring allergy symptoms. Start taking them before your spring allergies begin.
Sedation is the most common side effect of these medicines. Your body should adjust to the medicine within a few days.
If your reactions are severe, contact a doctor and schedule immunotherapy. This treatment consists of exposing your body to small doses of your triggers. You will gradually build up a tolerance to these triggers.
Start this treatment before your spring allergies start.
Do I Have Allergies or a Spring Cold?
The symptoms of spring allergies can mimic a cold or flu. The main differences are:
- Allergies will not cause fevers or muscle aches
- Colds do not cause the itchy feeling that allergies do
- Allergy symptoms may come and go
- Allergy symptoms are triggered by your surroundings
- Cold symptoms only last from a few days to a week
If you aren’t sure if you have a seasonal cold or spring allergies, call Coastal Urgent Care for an evaluation today.