Ah, spring...AH-CHOO! Spring allergies affect millions of people each year. But why do seasonal allergies pack such a punch?
Why do I have allergies in spring?
Spring allergies are caused by seasonal allergens. During winter, many plants and flora freeze or die out--which is why you won't get winter allergies in most climates. However, once spring hits, the warm weather and heavy rains revitalize plant life and cause a burst of life in the natural world. This new life adds color and energy back into the outdoors, but it can also add environmental triggers for those who suffer from allergies.
Seasonal Causes of Allergies
There are different seasonal allergens for different seasons. The most common fall allergen is ragweed, but in spring, the culprit is typically pollen. As trees, grass, flowers, weeds, and other greenery start growing after a long winter, they release pollen. Pollen helps fertilize other plants, but it is also a major trigger for those with allergies.
Other triggers for allergies include mold and dust mites. These are more common indoors and can be year-round allergies for those who are susceptible to them.
Common Allergy Symptoms
If you suffer from allergies, the symptoms are probably all too familiar to you: sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, etc. Our bodies don't do much without a purpose--so what's the purpose of allergy symptoms?
These symptoms are your body's natural response to something it views as an external threat. If you suffer from allergies, your immune system registers environmental factors like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores as enemies. When the immune system thinks it's under attack, it defends itself. Sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose may seem lackluster as a defense, but all your body cares about is flushing out the threat in whatever way possible.
We know most common seasonal allergens to be harmless to humans, but what can we do to help with the symptoms?
Tips and Treatments for Seasonal Allergies
There are many ways that you can help reduce or prevent allergy symptoms.
Allergy Symptom Treatment
Many are familiar with the various allergy medications available over the counter, but finding the correct choice and best fit for you is essential. Allergy medications typically fall into three categories:
- Antihistamine - Histamines are agents in your body that create symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes, etc. Antihistamines help neutralize histamines, which reduces allergy symptoms.
- Decongestant - Decongestants are used to clear up nasal inflammation. They work by shrinking the blood vessels in your nose, which allows your airways to open up more.
- Corticosteroids - This medication works by reducing inflammation when an allergic trigger is present.
Tips to Avoid Allergic Triggers
Treating allergy symptoms is a great way to feel better once you've been exposed to allergens, but avoiding airborne triggers can prevent your body from reacting at all. Here are some ways to better avoid allergens during spring:
- Watch the weather. Weather apps and websites track pollen levels. Airborne pollen levels are highest in the early morning and after rain. Stay indoors on rainy days and those with high pollen counts to avoid an allergic reaction.
- Shower after going outside. If you can't (or don't want to) avoid the outdoors, make sure you shower after being outside to wash any pollen out of your hair. Change clothes afterward to make sure you aren't carrying allergens with you.
- Keep a clean home. Spring cleaning isn't just a tradition--it's a great way to remove contaminants like dust mites, hair and skin particles, pollen, mold spores, and other potential allergens from your home. Vacuum at least once a week and dust with a microfiber cloth to pick up contaminants. Change your air filter every 30-90 days, depending on how often you use your HVAC system for cleaner air in your home.
If someone in your household is particularly susceptible to seasonal allergies, investing in an indoor air quality solution such as an Air Scrubber can help! Contact the HVAC and indoor air quality experts at Morrison Heating & Cooling to learn more and schedule an appointment.