Spring is in full swing, and while we may welcome the warmer temperatures and brilliant blooms, they can also trigger some very unwelcome symptoms resulting from seasonal allergies.
Blame it on the pollen—those tiny particles that trees, grass and weeds release into the air for the purpose of fertilization. Many people’s bodies perceive pollen as a foreign invader, so when they breathe it in, their immune systems release antibodies, which attack the allergens, thereby releasing chemicals called histamines. The histamines, in turn, trigger allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, scratchy throat, stuffy nose and coughing.
Now that the trees in our area are blooming, that pesky pollen is on the move. It’s a good idea to stay informed about daily pollen levels to help you gauge what steps to take to control symptoms. Stay current by visiting the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s map, offering detailed information on pollen and mold levels in Baltimore and other parts of the United States.
On days when the concentration is high, reduce symptoms by avoiding allergic triggers:
· stay indoors
· keep windows closed
· change clothes and wash hands when you come inside
· wash hair before going to bed because allergens can remain in the hair and then spread to your pillow
For relief of symptoms, take allergy medications regularly and start on them early in the pollen season. Treatment options include:
· Antihistamines: block histamines, which eases symptoms, but can make you drowsy
· Decongestants: help clear nasal passages but can raise blood pressure, so avoid if you have hypertension
· Eye drops: relieve watering and itchy eyes
Other medications, including prescription nasal spray with corticosteroids that reduce inflammation, and allergy shots may be in order. Shots gradually expose you to allergens so that the body can build up defenses.
Visit us at Doctors Express Timonium for walk-in allergy treatment and prevention advice, so you can get on with enjoying spring instead of suffering through it. And when you come to us for help with seasonal allergies, we’ll even send you home with free tissues! We’re located on York Road, just south of Padonia Road, at the stoplight across from the Fairgrounds.