AAASHHHHHEW……… SEASONAL ALLERGIES ARE HERE!
As the weather starts to get warm and the flowers begin to bloom, many of us struggle with the ever so bothersome symptoms of seasonal allergies. So what causes seasonal allergies? As it turns out, an abundance of pollen can cause our immune system to release a number of chemicals, including histamines, which contribute to the classic symptoms of conjunctivitis, rhinitis, and sneezing/cough. Conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the eyes, may lead to itching, tearing and redness of the eye, and symptoms may be so severe as to cause eye infections. Some also suffer from allergic rhinitis, or constant running of the nose, along with sneezing, and cough, mostly caused by a post-nasal drip or spasm of the bronchioles, leading to asthma-like symptoms.
As it turns out, most of these symptoms can be kept at bay, with the administration of medications known as antihistamines (Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl), which can block the histamine molecules from binding to cellular receptors that activate the allergic cascade. There are other prescription drugs that target the allergic response, thus providing immediate relief to the symptoms described above.
So how do you prevent seasonal allergies? Know your triggers! Monitor pollen counts, especially during peak blooming season – weather reports on media outlets often include this information during allergy season. You would also benefit from keeping windows and doors shut at home and in your car during the height of the season, and most would tell you to stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest. Lastly (and especially for children), make sure to shower and change clothes after being outdoors for an extended period of time.
But don’t worry….Help is available! Your doctors can provide you with treatment in the form of prescription medications or injections that can be given in the office. Good luck to all of you during this allergy season, and be well!