Spring is an exciting season with warmer temperatures and more sunlight, causing many plants to grow quickly and provide more food. However, my friend Sheena is least happy during this time of the year. She experiences non-stop sneezing, red and itchy eyes and even difficulty of breathing.
Spring allergy or seasonal hay fever is a debilitating condition. But there are ways to work around it.
AVOID THE CULPRIT THAT CAUSES SPRING ALLERGY
Wind may blow pollen inside the home if doors and windows are left open during this time of the year. Make sure to keep possible entryways shut, plugged or boarded up. Avoid using window fans to bring air into the home. Instead, turn on the air-conditioner, making sure that the filter is regularly cleaned. Choose filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 12. This index tells you how well the filter removes mold and pollen from the air that passes through.
Minimize activities outdoors during midday and afternoon hours as studies show that this is when pollen counts are at their peak. Other research have revealed that pollen count has been rising annually due to increased temperature and levels of carbon dioxide. Human-induced changes such as increased economic growth and environmental sustainability measures are what have caused this count to rise and may double from its present numbers by the year 2040. Wearing glasses, sunglasses or goggles and a face mask will help prevent pollen from attacking the eyes and nose, which are the main organs that suffer the most discomfort due to spring allergy.
Allergic reactions are occasions when the body releases an avalanche of stress hormones. If this happens continually without physical release, this may damage the network that guards our health, the immune system. Brute up your immune system strength in the following ways:
Eat right. Poor eating habits aggravate health problems like asthma and seasonal allergies. Help control allergies by eating food rich in anti-oxidants such as fruits, vegetables, green tea, nuts, seeds, etc.
Lose weight through diet and exercise. Extra fat around the waist can cramp the abdominal area and prevent the lungs from fully expanding. When you can’t breathe easily, you prevent the body from getting much-needed oxygen to combat stress brought on by spring allergies.
Provide a rack by the front door for footwear. Encourage family members and other guests to leave shoes outside and not wear them indoors to prevent bringing pollen in from outdoors.
Throw clothes into the wash as soon as you head indoors. Shower and shampoo before getting into bed to remove pollen that has clung to skin and hair to completely get rid of this allergen.
Be conscious of the fact that pets are highly likely to track in pollen. Therefore, when taking them out for walks, avoid paths where their fur can brush against low-lying shrubs and plants.
MEDICATE & IMMUNIZE
Preventive medication is the most important strategy in the over-all reduction of spring allergy symptoms. Without the help of proper and safe medicines, absenting one’s self from work to have complete bed rest is inevitable. There is no other alternative left.
For the Eyes: Use antihistamine eyedrops before you go outside so your eyes won’t tear up or swell. Use artificial tears to flush out allergens. Decongestant eyedrops also can help control eyes from being red.
For the Nose: Nasal decongestants are needed to relieve allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. When the body comes across an allergen, it produces a substance called histamine. Most of the older antihistamines or histamine blockers used to make allergy sufferers sleepy. But there are newer ones [like cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratidine and levocetirizine] that do not induce drowsiness. In case the nose feels dry due to allergy, a nasal saline spray may be used to moisten the affected area.
For the Skin: For allergic reactions that show up on the skin, use moisturizers and hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and soothe an itchy, dry feeling.
One other means of hindering spring allergy from reaching full strength and avoiding all its uncomfortable symptoms is through immunization. Allergy shots will help prevent the progression of the allergy symptoms.
With the help of these strategies, spring allergy sufferers like Sheena can now lead a more normal life.