Once allergy season hits, you might feel like you’re the only one suffering. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as nearly 50 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies. Almost one in three adults experience seasonal allergies, and about 40% of children suffer from some sort of symptoms.
While it might seem like a lot of people blowing their nose isn’t such a big deal, those with asthma are significantly affected when springtime begins. Referred to as allergic asthma, more than 25 million people suffer from difficulty breathing when their airways constrict due to an attack. This is a serious matter and can affect children to a large degree. Hospitals note that asthma-related breathing trouble is the third ranking reason for hospitalizing a child under the age of 15.
What is an Allergy and How Does it Work
Just like with other illnesses or conditions, your body goes through a lot on an internal level when it encounters an allergen. The first time you are exposed, your immune system will produce an antibody that binds to the allergen, whether it’s a pollen or dust molecule. Your cells recognize this allergen as an invader, and while blood cells come to your rescue to defend your body.
This triggers other cells to come rushing in, and when everyone meets up to attack the allergen, you begin to notice symptoms. Unfortunately, once you develop an allergy to a specific trigger, you’ll experience the same type of response year after year.
Common Allergy Triggers And Symptoms
When someone mentions that their allergies are particularly bad on a certain day, have you wondered what exactly is making them sneeze? There are three main triggers for seasonal allergies, and they can all affect people in different ways:
- Pollen – Perhaps the most commonly discussed allergen during springtime, pollen is found in abundance as flowers and trees bloom back to life. Various plants will release microscopic particles that create a reaction when coming into contact with someone’s eyes or nose. For those allergic to pollen, common symptoms include a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing or nasal congestion. Sometimes only one of these will manifest or you might experience all of these concerns.
- Dust mites – Nearly invisible to the naked eye, dust mites affect quite a few people and are the kind of allergy that can be hard to tackle since they live inside of your home. These little creatures are mostly found in people’s bedrooms and can trigger much of the same symptoms that pollens can.
- Mold – Are your allergy symptoms seemingly present all of the time, even when it’s not spring? You might be experiencing a reaction to mold, which is another very common cause for those itchy eyes and your runny nose. Mold spores can travel through the air both when you’re near it outside or if you have a mold problem in your home.
Sometimes it takes a few minor changes to deal with a mold allergy, like high-quality air filters in your HVAC system or even getting a home inspection to find out where the mold problem lies. With symptoms similar to those that come from pollens or dust mites, mold allergies can be managed.
Allergy Treatment And Tips
If you have allergies, what are you supposed to do about them? Depending on the cause and the type of symptoms you experience, there are some minor lifestyle changes that can go a long way toward making allergy season a lot more comfortable.
- Pay attention to pollen and mold counts. You can find this on your local news station or online. If you planned to go out on a day that’s ranking high with allergens, it might be a good idea to change your outing to a different day.
- Wash your hair at night. Gel and mousse can trap pollen, so it’s important to wash them out before you sleep.
- Keep your nose clean. It’s easy for pollen to stick to your nose and prolong your allergies. Try a saline rinse or non-prescription nasal spray to wash out your nose.
- Keep your doors and windows closed. You should do so to avoid contaminants from entering your home. Some people who are especially sensitive opt to wear a dust mask around their home until their symptoms subside.
- Opt for over the counter or prescription allergy medication. These can contain antihistamines, decongestants, and more to help fight your condition.
- Reduce your stress levels. Studies have shown that stress raises levels of the hormone cortisol, causing allergy sufferers to react more extremely after stressful events.
- Keep a cool temperature. Dust mites thrive in hotter and more humid temperatures, so be sure to keep your temperature in the 60’s with a humidity level between 40% and 45%.
- Opt for natural remedies. Are you looking for a more natural treatment that doesn’t include rearranging your whole day? Some say that certain foods can be instrumental in keeping allergies at bay, including pineapple with its natural antihistamine properties or curry which can help to reduce inflammation.
Remember, seasonal allergies don’t have to completely ruin your ability to enjoy nice weather. A little careful planning and some management of your symptoms are really all it takes to have a fun and carefree allergy season!