For many, spring is time to celebrate the end of constant rain and cold weather. For those with allergies, however, spring signals the beginning of misery. Often it starts with a little runny nose and tickle in the throat, but then becomes constant congestion, itchy eyes and nose and coughing.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” affects more than 20% of people in the United States. Allergies are triggered by allergens such as pollen or mold spores. Many trees, grasses and weeds contain small and light pollens that are easily carried by the wind, causing allergy symptoms to flare up during their pollination season.
Unless an allergy sufferer decides never to go outside during the allergy season, preventing exposure to pollens will be difficult. Some tips that can decrease exposure include keeping the windows closed when pollen counts are high, washing hands and face after coming indoors or showering before bed, and wearing a mask when mowing the lawn or gardening. Peak pollen times are between 5 AM-10 AM, so minimizing outdoor activity during this time will also decrease exposure.
Allergies not only cause nasal and eye discomfort...