by Beverly Matoney
Medically reviewed by Brent Ferrell, MD, Shelby Medical Associates
Welcome Spring! The words bring to mind warm breezes, bright days, and birds singing.
Budding trees. Lush grass. A rainbow of blossoms. A field of weeds. All producing bushels of pollen that will cause our eyes to itch, our noses to run, and our throat to tickle.
We love spring, but we’re not fond of the seasonal allergies that accompany the warmer days.
While there are many compounds that can cause allergic reactions, seasonal allergies typically refer to symptoms triggered by plant pollens. The various plants that appear during each season of the year produce different kinds of pollen. You may react to one or dozens of different plant pollens.
If you’re lucky, you may only experience symptoms for a few weeks. For those who react to many different kinds of pollen, seasonal allergies can last from early spring through the end of fall. Unfortunately, seasonal allergies can’t be cured, so your allergies will show up year after year.
A pollen count is just that, a measurement of pollen in the air, and often your local weather report will include a count in the day’s forecast. The types of pollen vary from season to season, and the count can vary from day to day. Rain tends to clean the air for a time, but wind can fill the air with pollen to make allergic reactions worse.
Keep your windows closed during days when the pollen count is high, and also at night, since that is when some plants release their pollen. Drive with your car windows up, and sorry, no sporting around with the convertible top down.
If you know which pollens affect you, keep an eye on the pollen counts for that plant, and plan to stay in as much as possible during its season. Of course, when life takes you outside, so follow these suggestions to minimize your exposure to the pollens that cause you discomfort.
Pop on a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the amount of pollen that falls down on your head and face. You can wear a mask for chores, such as mowing the lawn or dusting the furniture, that can stir up a lot of pollen. Use allergen-trapping air filters in your home
To reduce your chance of coming into contact with pollen after you’ve been outside, change clothes when you come in, take a shower and wash your hair, and leave your shoes beside the door so you don’t track pollen through the house. And don’t forget that pets can carry in pollen on their fur.
Colds typically last for a few days to a week or so and are accompanied by a cough and sometimes aches and pains. Seasonal allergies can last for several weeks from spring through fall and are characterized by itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose.
If you have asthma, increased pollen counts can trigger an attack. Wear a mask if you know you’ll be outside during a high pollen count day. You can also develop an infection in your sinuses from all of the irritation and inflammation caused by a prolonged allergic reaction to seasonal pollen.
If you’re having symptoms you can’t seem to relieve with over-the-counter treatments, come visit us at Shelby Medical Associates so we can help you enjoy the season without the suffering.
Take care of you, take care of yours, we’ll be there to help you with both.