Spring Has Sprung: Do You Know Where Your Allergies Are?
Oh spring! Bringer of crocuses, birdsongs and the return of bunnies! Why must you torment so many with your pollens when you are - generally - so very lovely? And more importantly, what can the tormented do about it?
problem with spring - at least from an allergy-sufferer's perspective - is that the trees are all starting to bloom, and their pollen is going airborne. Normally, I'd say most of us are in favor of the end of naked trees, but when it means we're going to be sneezing for the next few months, it's less wondrous. As the trees throw on their beautiful spring garments, some people's immune systems go on the defensive and start trying to fight off the terrible invaders. That triggers the release of histamines, and the rest is itchy, sneezy history. So what can you, the allergy sufferer, do about this?
Your first option is to take an antihistamine. These can help to reduce the sneezing/itching/watering ickiness that is your life during allergy season by getting rid of the some of the histamines in your blood. These are generally available over the counter, although there are some stronger antihistamines that your doctor can prescribe if the OTC brands just aren't cutting it.
If your allergies take the form of congested, swelling nasal passages, a decongestant can help to relieve those problems. Some drugs combine both into a antihistamine/decongestant super-pill, and if you suffer from both problems, you may want to go with this instead of trying to take both kinds of pills at once, as drug interactions can be difficult to predict.
Some people respond best to nasal spray decongestants or cromolyn nasal spray. The decongestants can sometimes work more quickly than pills, but they may also not last as long and usually shouldn't be used for more than 48 hours without a 24 hour break. Cromolyn nasal spray can actually stop the release of histamines before they send of the alarm bells and send you into a sneezing fit.
Eye drops are a great supplemental solution to the itchy, watery eyes issue.
Most of the time, allergy medications that work well are easily available over the counter. However, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor and sometimes even be tested for allergies to make sure you're taking the best thing for your allergies.
In addition to the medication options, you can also do some simple things to avoid the worst allergy reactions. Stay inside as much as possible when the pollen count is highest (i.e. in the morning). As tempting as it is to open the doors and windows, keep them closed if you want to avoid letting allergens into your house. Clean your air filters often, wash your hair after you've gone outside and vacuum twice a week to avoid collecting pollen everywhere to haunt you forever.
You can get through allergy season and maybe enjoy spring a little too!