Spring is here! Are you sniffing, sneezing and wheezing yet? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), One in five Americans has allergies and it’s the fifth most common chronic disease in children.
Spring allergies start with the budding and release of pollen by trees. Pollen is carried by wind or insects to plants, and aids in their fertilization. Pesky pollen swirling in the air causes hay fever in more than 35 million Americans, the AAFA says. Pollen allergy sufferers have runny noses, itchy, watery eyes, coughing, and post-nasal drip. People with severe allergic reactions can also suffer from asthma attacks.
Before you throw your tissue box in frustration, take a deep breath, blow your nose and read on. Here are some tips to help you survive spring allergy season:
• Stay inside during high pollen days. Pollen levels usually are high in the morning, before 10 a.m. Pollen loves to spread during warm, windy weather. Pollen counts usually are lowest after rain. A hat with a wide brim or sunglasses can help protect you from pollen.
• Take a shower at night. If you’ve been outside during a high pollen count, wash it off so it doesn’t spread to your pillows and bed.
• Allergy shots. Allergy shots contain a small amount of the substance that causes your allergies. Over time, the shots will prevent your body from reacting to your allergies.
• Over-the-counter medications. Be aware of the potential side effects. An over-the-counter decongestant spray can cause symptoms to worsen after several days of use. You might want to discuss your allergies with your doctor to learn of treatment options, including a steroid nose spray that can help reduce swelling.
See your doctor if you have questions about allergy causes and treatment. Toss your tissues and enjoy spring – which is something to smile about!