The sun is shining, the temperature is warming up, the plants and trees are blooming! Spring has certainly sprung and with it, unfortunately, comes allergy season. All of those wonderful outdoor activities you’ve been looking forward to can suddenly feel plagued by not-so-nice symptoms like sinus pressure or non-stop sneezing attacks. So as you say your goodbyes to the winter season, you may have to say hello to allergy season.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
While there is so much beauty to behold this time of year with fresh lawns and blooming gardens, they may be causing severe problems for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Some of the biggest culprits in North Carolina are airborne agents like grass, ragweed and tree pollen. Several of these tend to have their worst seasons starting in March and often going through the middle of May.
According to Jamie Lagarde or Sedera Healthcare, “Once they enter our bodies, these allergens start to wreak havoc. The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens and release a chemical called histamine into the nose, eyes, and lungs.” While histamine is meant to harm and remove the harmful agents in the human body, it also causes inflammation which is where the allergy sufferer comes in.
How Do You Know When Allergies Are Striking?
While many people know the symptoms of a common cold or cough, it can be difficult to determine if they are, instead, experiencing seasonal allergies. This is especially true as allergies do not always present themselves the same way throughout a person’s life. You may have not experienced any symptoms as a child or teenager, when as an adult you get hit hard each season, or vice versa. Understanding how to determine if you’re suffering from allergies is important so you can move forward with the right steps to keep them under control!
Common Allergy Symptoms:
Sneezing Sinus pressure Congestion Itchy & watery eyes
Coughing Weariness Lack of focus Restlessness
Itchy rash Shortness of breath
Can You Manage Allergy Attacks on Your Own?
If this time of year can make you or a loved one feel taken down by seasonal allergies, feel empowered knowing there are several different ways to manage them within your reach. You can take some preventive measures like keeping your windows shut during high pollen days, using a humidifier at night in your room and avoiding the outdoors when you feel allergies coming on. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you can arm yourself ahead of time with a mix of natural remedies and/or over-the-counter medications.
Popular Natural Remedies
- Nasal irrigation using a neti pot, sinus irrigator or nasal oils
- Herbal remedies like Butterbur or Quercetin
- Apple cider vinegar to help the immune system and break up mucus
- Essential oils like basil, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil
Popular OTC Medical Solutions
- Pills/Tablets: Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Xyzal Allergy Relief
- Nasal Sprays: Beconase, Flonase, Nasonex, Rhinocort
What to Do When Allergies Aren’t Easing Up
If you are feeling the worst of it even after trying your hand at some preventive measures and simple remedies, it may be time to seek out guidance from a professional. You can make an allergy appointment with your physician’s office or ask for a referral to a specialist. They may do some allergy testing on you to determine which specific things you are allergic to and make sure you are using the correct medications to keep them under control. Additionally, they may move you to a prescription antihistamine or other medication to help reduce and control your symptoms. Remember to always share any other medications you may be taking at the time of your appointment to avoid any negative interactions.
Also, it’s important to remember that as often as the seasons change, so does your body and its needs. You may find that one allergy season may hit harder than another, so it may be a trial and error of care plans until you find what suits you best!