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All about Spring seasonal allergies

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Learn all about Spring seasonal allergies. What it is, how to cure it and how to live healthy. The advise comes from experts such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, WebMD, and Helping Solution.

Learn all about Spring seasonal allergies. What it is, how to cure it and how to live healthy. The advise comes from experts such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, WebMD, and Helping Solution.

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. Spring  is  the  time  of  year  that  we  normally  think  of  when  it  comes  to  seasonal   allergies.  As  the  trees  start  to  bloom  and  the  pollen  gets  airborne,  allergy  sufferers   begin  their  annual  ritual  of  sniffling  and  sneezing.  Each  year,  40-­‐50  million   Americans  fall  prey  to  seasonal  allergic  rhinitis,  more  commonly  known  as  hay   fever.    Allergic  disorders  affect  an  estimated  1  in  5  adults  and  children  and  are  the   sixth  leading  cause  of  chronic  illness  in  the  United  States,  according  to  the  Allergy   Report  from  the  American  Academy  of  Allergy,  Asthma  and  Immunology  (AAAI).   Although  there  is  no  magical  cure  for  spring  allergies,  there  are  a  number  of  ways  to   combat  them,  from  medication  to  household  habits.     What  causes  spring  allergies?   The  biggest  spring  allergy  trigger   is  pollen  -­‐-­‐  tiny  grains  released   into  the  air  by  trees,  grasses,  and   weeds  for  the  purpose  of  fertilizing   other  plants.  When  pollen  grains   get  into  the  nose  of  someone  who’s   allergic,  they  send  the  immune   system  into  overdrive.         The  immune  system,  mistakenly   seeing  the  pollen  as  foreign   invaders,  releases  antibodies  -­‐-­‐   substances  that  normally  identify   and  attack  bacteria,  viruses,  and   other  illness-­‐causing  organisms.   The  antibodies  attack  the  allergens,  which  leads  to  the  release  of  chemicals  called   histamines  into  the  blood.  Histamines  trigger  the  runny  nose,  itchy  eyes,  and  other   symptoms  of  allergies.   Pollen  can  travel  for  miles,  spreading  a  path  of  misery  for  allergy  sufferers  along  the   way.  The  higher  the  pollen  count,  the  greater  the  misery.  The  pollen  count  measures   the  amount  of  allergens  in  the  air  in  grains  per  cubic  meter.  You  can  find  out  the   daily  pollen  count  in  your  area  by  watching  your  local  weather  forecast  or  by   visiting  the  NAB:  Pollen  &  Mold  Counts  page  on  the  American  Academy  of  Allergy,   Asthma  and  Immunology’s  web  site.     Among  the  most  common  allergy  triggers,  according  to  the  Asthma  and  Allergy   Foundation  of  America,  are:   • Tree,  grass,  and  weed  pollen   • Mold  spores   • Dust  mite  and  cockroach  allergens   • Cat,  dog,  and  rodent  dander  
  • 2.     Allergy  symptoms  tend  to  be  particularly  high  on  breezy  days  when  the  wind  picks   up  pollen  and  carries  it  through  the  air.  Rainy  days,  on  the  other  hand,  cause  a  drop   in  the  pollen  counts  because  the  rain  washes  away  the  allergens.     What  are  the  symptoms  of  spring  allergies?   The  symptoms  of  spring  allergies  include:   • Runny  nose   • Watery  eyes   • Sneezing   • Coughing   • Itchy  eyes  and  nose   • Dark  circles  under  the  eyes     Airborne  allergens  also  can  trigger  asthma,  a  condition  in  which  the  airways  narrow,   making  breathing  difficult  and  leading  to  coughing,  wheezing,  and  shortness  of   breath.     How  are  spring  allergies  diagnosed?   If  you’ve  never  been  formally  diagnosed  with  spring  allergies  but  you  notice  that   your  eyes  and  nose  are  itchy  and  runny  during  the  spring  months,  see  your  doctor.   Your  doctor  may  refer  you  to  an  allergist  for  tests.     The  allergy  specialist  may  do  a  skin  test,  which  involves  injecting  a  tiny  sample  of  a   diluted  allergen  just  under  the  skin  of  your  arm  or  back.  If  you’re  allergic  to  the   substance,  a  small  red  bump  (called  a  wheal  or  hive)  will  form.  Another  diagnostic   option  is  the  radioallergosorbent  test  or  RAST.  RAST  is  a  blood  test  that  detects   antibody  levels  to  a  particular  allergen.  Just  because  you  are  sensitive  to  a  particular   allergen  on  a  test,  though,  doesn’t  mean  that  you’ll  necessarily  start  sneezing  and   coughing  when  you  come  into  contact  with  it.    
  • 3. Can  allergies  be  cured?   Many  with  allergies  tend  to  suffer  in  silence.  If  you  do,  you  should  understand  that   you  don't  need  to  grin  and  bear  it.  While  there  is  no  cure  for  allergies,  with  proper   management  this  condition  can  be  effectively  controlled.     Making  changes  in  your  environment  can  greatly  limit  your  exposure  to  certain   allergens  and  reduce  your  symptoms.  Medications  that  are  safe  and  effective  can  be   prescribed.  Allergen  immunotherapy  is  also  an  option  for  reducing  symptoms  and   medication  reliance  on  a  long-­‐term  basis.     Treat  Allergies  Early   Spring  pollen  season  starts  much  earlier  than  many  people  think.  In  large  swaths  of   the  country,  including  the  eastern  seaboard  and  the  Ohio  Valley,  pollen  starts  filling   the  air  as  soon  as  the  weather  warms  up  just  enough  for  the  trees  to  begin  budding.   As  long  as  you're  not  in  the  Snow  Belt  up  around  the  Great  Lakes,  the  pollen  season   starts  very  early,  and  by  mid-­‐March  we'll  have  our  first  peak.     This  means  that  if  you  take   medications  to  control  your   seasonal  allergies,  the  time  to   start  them  is  mid-­‐  to  late-­‐ February,  not  late  March.   "Allergies  create  an   inflammatory  response  that  is   like  a  smoldering  fire.  If  you  can   keep  it  smoldering  rather  than   flaring,  you'll  do  a  lot  better.”  By   starting  your  medications  early,   you're  less  likely  to  have  a   snowball  effect  with  your   symptoms.     Reduce  your  exposure  to  allergy  triggers   To  reduce  your  exposure  to  the  things  that  triggers  your  allergy  signs  and   symptoms  (allergens):     • Stay  indoors  on  dry,  windy  days  —  the  best  time  to  go  outside  is  after  a  good   rain,  which  helps  clear  pollen  from  the  air.   • Delegate  lawn  mowing,  weed  pulling  and  other  gardening  chores  that  stir  up   allergens.   • Remove  clothes  you've  worn  outside;  you  may  also  want  to  shower  to  rinse   pollen  from  your  skin  and  hair.   • Don't  hang  laundry  outside  —  pollen  can  stick  to  sheets  and  towels.   • Wear  a  dust  mask  if  you  do  outside  chores.     Take  extra  steps  when  pollen  counts  are  high  
  • 4. Seasonal  allergy  signs  and  symptoms  can  flare  up  when  there's  a  lot  of  pollen  in  the   air.  These  steps  can  help  you  reduce  your  exposure:     • Check  your  local  TV  or  radio  station,  your  local  newspaper,  or  the  Internet   for  pollen  forecasts  and  current  pollen  levels.   • If  high  pollen  counts  are  forecasted,  start  taking  allergy  medications  before   your  symptoms  start.   • Close  doors  and  windows  at  night  or  any  other  time  when  pollen  counts  are   high.   • Avoid  outdoor  activity  in  the  early  morning  when  pollen  counts  are  highest.     Keep  indoor  air  clean   There's  no  miracle  product  that  can  eliminate  all  allergens  from  the  air  in  your   home,  but  these  suggestions  may  help:     • Use  the  air  conditioning  in  your  house  and  car.   • If  you  have  forced  air  heating  or  air  conditioning  in  your  house,  use  high-­‐ efficiency  filters  and  follow  regular  maintenance  schedules.   • Keep  indoor  air  dry  with  a  dehumidifier.   • Use  a  portable  high-­‐efficiency  particulate  air  (HEPA)  filter  in  your  bedroom.   • Clean  floors  often  with  a  vacuum  cleaner  that  has  a  HEPA  filter.         Resources:  WebMD   Mayo  Clinic   Cleveland  Clinic   Helping  Solution  

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