The Curse of Spring
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, can make those beautiful Spring days pretty miserable. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Nasal and/or ear congestion
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Sore, scratchy throat
- Post-nasal drainage
- Itchy sinuses or ear canals
- Asthma-like symptoms (wheezing, etc.)
Avoid that yellow dust!
Even though it’s difficult, try to avoid pollen, the main trigger for Spring hay fever symptoms. Here are some tips:
- Monitor the pollen counts every day so you know what to expect and how to prepare
- Try to stay indoors on dry, windy, days
- Plan outdoor activites in the afternoon or evening
- Have someone help with gardening and other outdoor chores
- Always wear a mask when working outside
- Take antihistamines on high pollen-count days
- Keep windows closed, use HEPA filters, and air conditioning
- Wash your bedding in hot water every week
Why do I have allergies now?
If you developed allergy symptoms as an adult, you’re not alone. Adult-onset seasonal allergies are common. Typically, these reactions occur when something in your environment has changed. An allergic reaction occurs when your body identifies something as being harmful and then produces antibodies to try to fight that substance. Those antibodies then attach themselves to cells in the body and release a chemical called histamine. Histamine creates inflammation which causes your allergic symptoms.
Many people experience these reactions after a move to a new state where different allergens may be present. When our bodies are exposed to new potential allergens, there is a higher likelihood of having a reaction. If you’re new to Virginia you may be enjoying the different seasons but struggling with allergies this spring.
Allergies can also affect us differently each year. One cause of this is a longer than average winter. If cold temperatures cause a delay in pollination of trees, they pollinate at the same time as many other plants and flowers – increasing the amount of pollen at one time.
Treatment options include prescription and over the counter antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays, and prescription steroid inhalers. In some cases, a deviated septum — the bone and cartilage which separate one side from the other — can make allergy symptoms worse. A simple surgical procedure can straighten the septum, stop the blockage, and help relieve symptoms.