Health Education

A Field Guide to Allergy Season

Cropped SingleCare logo By | May 9, 2016

As the temperatures begin to rise, and the days get longer, the sneezes tend to take over. It’s the most dreaded side-effect of our badly-needed transition from another cold season: allergies.

For all the unlucky ones out there who are afflicted with seasonal allergies, spring is not the happiest season of the year. The blooming flowers can be accompanied by itchy eyes, sneezing, and congestion, making spring difficult or even impossible to enjoy. But just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you’re doomed to the indoors until allergy season tapers off! We have some tips and tricks to help you pull through with minimal sniffles.

Where Do Allergies Come From?

pollen allergy
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While much is known about the effects of allergies, it wasn’t always so clear why certain people were affected. Recently, researchers at the University of Southampton noted a link between one’s season of birth and their manifestation. Their study found that autumn and winter babies were more likely to suffer from allergic diseases, including asthma.

While you’d obviously want to keep your child-to-be from an allergic future if possible, John Holloway, one of the study’s authors, reasserts: “While these results have clinical implications in mediating against allergy risk, we are not advising altering pregnancy timing.”

And of course, spring allergies aren’t the only kind, but all allergies are effectively created the same way: they spring from immune responses, as your system incorrectly assumes that the allergen is a foreign invader and attacks the particle. The method of attack is the dreaded histamine, and while it succeeds in dismantling the allergen, it also causes mild to severe symptoms your body typically displays when fighting off diseases — primarily, the excess production of mucous.

Common Offenders

But why do allergens soar in the spring and not, say, summer or fall? For mold, the key is the perfect mix of rising day temperatures with cool nights and wet weather: in short, mold thrives in humid environments. And spring’s blooming flowers means that pollen counts tend to be high as well.

But the allergic are not doomed to constant levels of misery: the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) points out that pollen levels are often highest between 5am and 10am, so planning to minimize your time outdoors in the morning is a start. Additionally, take advantage of low pollen counts right after it rains: precipitation helps matte down allergens and “clears” the air, though only for a short while.

Finally, while the ACAAI notes that changing locations won’t allow you to avoid seasonal allergies altogether, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has compiled a list of the worst places for those with spring allergies. And the top three offenders for 2016 are Jackson, MS, Memphis, TN, and Syracuse, NY.

How Meds Help

Of course, none of those options are a perfect fix. But having allergies shouldn’t mean that you miss out on morning jogs or picnics in the park.

For some, over-the-counter antihistamines are enough to stave off allergic reactions, and can be taken on an as-needed basis. Others who have more severe reactions may need prescription-strength medication or daily doses. But given the length of the allergy season, the cost of daily medication can quickly add up.

SingleCare’s prescription finder lets members see an average of 50% savings on prescriptions, so preparing for spring doesn’t have to mean making a budget, too. SingleCare also connects members to medical professionals so that you and your doctor can decide what prescription would be the best fit for your lifestyle and symptoms. No one should miss out on the joys of spring, and SingleCare can help you stay clear-eyed and sniffle-free through it all.

Main image credit: Wavebreakmedia LTD / ThinkStock