Sneezing In the Springtime? Your Guide To Seasonal Allergies
When spring and summer arrive, it feels fantastic to get outside and indulge in your favorite outdoor activities: walks, bike rides, going on picnics, enjoying festivals and fairs, watching parades, or even just attending backyard cookouts with family and friends.
Yet if you suffer seasonal allergies, sneezing and sniffling your way through the summer can be a miserable experience. Here is everything you need to know about this common condition, and — most importantly — how to treat it so you can get out and have fun this year!
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Most seasonal allergies occur during the spring and summer, but some people can suffer well into the fall. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, but without the body aches, fatigue, or other symptoms of the common cold, it’s likely you have seasonal allergies:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Swollen, painful sinuses
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Itchy throat
Causes of Seasonal Allergies
The most common cause of seasonal allergies is pollen. Particularly on the East Coast and in the Midwest, ragweed is to blame, but the pollen of other plants can also contribute to the allergy problem.
Additionally, allergies can be caused by mold and mildew, as well as grass.
Prevention of Seasonal Allergies
There are several steps you can take to prevent allergies’ ability to stop you in your tracks. First, learn what you are allergic to by visiting an allergist. Once you know what triggers your condition, you can better prevent attacks.
During the height of allergy season, stay indoors whenever possible, with windows and doors closed. Air conditioning is also helpful for many allergy sufferers, both to cool down a tightly-shut home, and to filter out pollen, mold spores, and other particulate matter than can start you sneezing.
If you must go outdoors, do so at times when your particular allergen is least prevalent, and wear a mask to help filter the air that you breathe. Once you come back indoors, take a shower and change clothes to minimize further exposure to the allergens.
Treatments for Seasonal Allergies
Depending on the severity of your allergies, you may be able to find relief by using over-the-counter (OTC) products. There are a variety, and they all work differently, so try various formulas to discover which works best for you.
Prescription allergy medication is the next step to take. Nasal sprays, eye drops, and medicine that is taken internally are available by prescription. Your allergist will help you decide where to start.
Lastly, immunotherapy — commonly known as allergy shots — can help sufferers who have tried other forms of treatment and been unsuccessful.
If you are opposed to medication, you can look into natural and homeopathic remedies to help curb allergies. Some folks swear by ingesting small amounts of locally sourced honey, although few studies back up the efficacy of this treatment.
It’s also important to remember that, as bad as allergies seem, they will pass. That’s why they’re called seasonal allergies, after all.