Spring is almost here! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and…..those with allergies are sneezing. Welcome to allergy season.
As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay feverstart to sniffle and sneeze.
But what is hay fever?
Allergies, more commonly known as hay fever occur when a substance is seen as foreign to the body. The immune system then acts as if the substance is dangerous and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptomsthat are all too familiar if you have allergies.
Hay fever comes by its name from hay-cutting season. Historically, this activity occurred in the summer months, around the same time many people experienced symptoms.
What are the major causes of spring allergies?
- Pollens from trees, grasses, or weeds
- Mold spores, which grow when the weather is humid, wet, or damp
What are the symptoms?
You may have:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
What you can use to treat your seasonal allergies:
People with seasonal allergies might use one or more of the following treatments to help reduce their symptoms:
- Nose rinses– Rinsing out the nose with salt water cleans the inside of the nose and gets rid of pollen in the nose. Different devices can be used to rinse the nose.
- Steroid nose sprays– Doctors often recommend these sprays first, because they are the best treatment for stuffy nose. (Steroid nose sprays do not contain the same steroids that some athletes take illegally). Steroid nose sprays work best if you use them every day, and it can take a few days for them to work fully. Steroid nose sprays are more effective than other allergy medicines for stuffy nose and post-nasal drip (which is when mucus runs down the back of your throat).
- Antihistamines– These medicines help stop itching, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms. They don’t treat stuffy nose as well as steroid nose sprays. Some antihistamines can make people feel tired.
- Antihistamine eye drops– These medicines are available without a prescription. They can help with eyes that feel itchy or gritty.