Slowly but surely, the weather is warming up. This means plants are blooming and more time is spent outside! Warmer weather sounds wonderful to most, but for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring is defined by itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and runny noses.

According to the American College of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, affects over three million people every year.  Seasonal allergies are commonly caused by pollen and mild spores in the air, which initiate a chain reaction within the body also referred to as an allergic reaction. During this reaction, the body produces antibodies that attach to allergy cells.  This causes a release of strong chemicals including histamine, which irritates the body and causes symptoms such as congestion, swelling, and watery eyes.

Have no fear allergy warriors! Help is on the way!  There are many ways you can prevent and treat symptoms of seasonal allergies.  Speak with your physician regarding the best course of action for your symptoms.

Did You Know?

  • Allergic Rhinitis takes two forms: Seasonal and Perennial
  • According to the CDC, 17.6 million adults and 6.6 million children were diagnosed with seasonal allergies in the past year
  • Allergies affect 1 in every 5 people
  • Some over the counter medications such as decongestants and antihistamines can help control symptoms

Tips for Controlling Seasonal Allergies

  1. Be conscious of when you are heading outside! Check for an allergy forecast, keeping in mind that pollen levels are usually highest between 5am and 10am and tend to be lower after rainfall.
  2. When you come back in, keep the outside out. Shower and wash your clothes to remove any pollen you have carried in. Although spring breezes feel great, keep your windows shut and utilize air conditioning. Set your air to recirculate so not to bring in more outside air and pollen.
  3. Talk with your doctor. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can be used preventatively and to alleviate symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have trouble controlling your allergies.

Sources: American College of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology, WebMD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.