The blossoming of flowers, the splash of color, and warming of the temperatures herald the coming of spring, which is always welcome after a stark cold winter season. Unfortunately, springtime is peak allergy season in the US. Allergies rank 5th among the leading chronic diseases affecting the US with more than half the population (55%) testing positive for one or more allergens.
Texas does tend to have more than its fair share of spring allergies. In fact, the highly allergenic oak and ash trees start filling the air with pollen by the end of February. The #1 cause for spring allergy is pollen. It is not just about plants in your neighborhood, pollen can travel miles before getting into your nose to play havoc with your immune system. Common symptoms of spring allergies include a runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and headaches. These symptoms can be quite severe at times and can completely knock the feet off from under you. In such cases, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible.
To confirm you are suffering from an allergic condition, you may need to be referred to an allergist who will perform a skin test or a blood test. While an allergy cannot be completely cured, there are several things you can do lessen its impact on your life.
- Try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high. This is usually in the mornings and on breezy days.
- Regularly clean your air filters and vacuum your carpets at least twice a week to get rid of trapped pollen. Studies have shown that 90% of your time is spent indoors, so using an air purifier and keeping your doors and windows closed greatly minimizes your contact with allergens.
If you do develop allergy symptoms, there are several allergy treatments that can bring great relief. These include natural remedies such as use of nasal irrigation devices, antihistamines to reduce sniffling and itchiness, decongestants to relieve congestion, and drops to relieve eye irritation. Even though you can get many allergy drugs over the counter, it is a good idea to consult your doctor to avoid any possible side effects from these medications.
Have a great spring season y’all!