Spring means gardens and parks are back to being prettier than ever. It's also the season for stuffy noses and sneezing, no thanks to allergies.

Seasonal allergies like allergic rhinitis are very common in the United States where more than 17 million people are affected, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

But why do people get these spring allergies in the first place? During spring, flowers bloom, and along with it the pollens are released into the air. These tiny specks of nature travel and hopefully pollinate other trees and flowers for their continued existence.

However, when these pollens end up in your nostrils and accidentally inhale them, they can irritate the immune system, which sees them as foreign invaders. The body's immunity then releases antibodies and a chemical known as histamine.

For non-allergic people, these histamines are kept at a tolerable level. However, for those who are prone to allergies, the immune system goes into an overdrive and releases loads of histamine that, in turn, causes the common signs and symptoms of allergies.

Pollens, however, are not the only culprits. During spring, the environment can be humid, making the surroundings including your home a perfect breeding ground for molds, which can cause the same reaction to your immune system as pollens.

Signs And Symptoms Of Spring Allergies

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of spring allergies include:

    • Sneezing
    • Wheezing
    • Coughing
    • Appearance of dark circles underneath the eyes
    • Runny nose
    • Itchy and watery eyes
    • Eye redness

Sometimes the allergens can trigger asthma, a chronic respiratory illness characterized by spasms of the bronchial tubes that cause difficulty in breathing. In very rare cases, exposure to these allergens can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening systemic reaction marked by hypotension (low blood pressure), dilation of blood vessels and sometimes shock.

Prevent Those Pesky Allergies

You can't shelter yourself completely from these spring allergens, but there are many steps you can take to reduce your exposure and hopefully prevent those allergies.

First, get a clear diagnosis of your allergies. "Typically, people have allergies to three or four species of trees and plants. So even if pollen counts are high, it doesn't mean your allergies are worse. That's why diagnosis is such an important part of allergy care," former AAFA external affairs vice president Mike Tringale, M.S.M., stresses.

Pay more attention to the environment too. Certain pollens move at different times of the day, and usually, during spring, these pollens come from trees. They also tend to be less active when it's raining, but their number increases after. Expect exposure to be very high during mornings and windy days, so you might want to avoid outdoor activities at these times.

You should also be more proactive by making allergy medications your best friend. Drugs such as antihistamines and decongestants can protect you from allergies or at least reduce the symptoms. In fact, begin taking them early or before symptoms appear. "With a week or 2 lead time, you'll feel better all season," Cleveland allergist Bela Faltay, M.D., says. Although some of them require prescription, most of them are available over the counter, so having them is easy.

Don't forget to keep your indoor air clean. Change your dirty filters, dehumidify if necessary and close windows and doors if presence of pollen in the area is high.

Finally, here are additional home remedies for warding off allergies as effectively as possible.

Photo: Jim Lukach | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.