Allergy is a common term used for many types of medical and health related symptoms, the most common being seasonal and food allergies. A majority of people suffer from seasonal allergies.
This article is intended for those experiencing seasonal allergies. If you are suffering from food related allergies, please contact your healthcare provider.
For those suffering from seasonal allergies, every season feels worse than the last. Itchy and watery eyes, the constant sneezing, the runny nose, etc ….. it’s no fun at all. It’s like the warm winter and other seasonal environmental factors are conspiring against you. However, did you know that, according to the FDA, more than 35 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and that each year the US spends $21 billion on health care costs related to allergies. So now you don’t have to feel alone and feel like the environment is conspiring against you ….. it’s doing it to everyone.
To some, the Fall Season is associated with back to school, crisp mornings and the smell of fresh leaves that have fallen to the ground. To many others the Fall Season is associated with the return of the allergy season. The end of the warm temperatures and the return of the rain creates a perfect environment for Ragweed, the most common fall season allergy.
Not only are approximately 20% of the people allergic to Ragweed, but global warming has extended the allergy season by as much as 15 days. And as soon as that is over, the fall and winter rain create the proliferation of mold and other additional seasonal allergies.
Mold is tiny fungi related to mushrooms but without stems, roots or leaves (I knew there was a reason I did not like mushrooms). Their spores float in the air like pollen. Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as temperatures rise in the spring and reach their peak in July in warmer areas and October in the colder areas. They can be found year-round in the U.S. South and on the West Coast and can be found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood.
So basically, what we are telling you is that there are seasonal allergies all year long. When will this nightmare stop?!?
So, what do we do??? Besides having a supply of allergy medication to relieve the symptoms of allergies, it is recommended that you take these steps to reduce the severity of allergies:
- Get tested. Colds and hay fever cause similar symptoms. The big difference, according to health experts, is a matter of duration. As a rule of thumb, if symptoms persist for several weeks, it’s likely an allergy. Your doctor can give you a skin test to confirm that you have allergies and find out which allergens you need to avoid.
- Don’t ignore the signs. Research suggests that allergic rhinitis causes inflammation of the lungs and sinuses and may lead to more serious respiratory problems such as sinusitis and asthma. Hay fever can also make sufferers more vulnerable to allergic eczema and food allergies.
- Treat symptoms with medications. Nasal symptoms are typically treated with an over-the-counter non drowsy oral antihistamine or a steroid nasal spray such as Nasonex or Flonase.
- Leave the outdoors outside. Minimize your exposure to allergens by closing your windows (including car windows) and using the air conditioner instead. At home, your window screens cannot protect you from microscopic pollen and mold spores. Allergens also have the annoying habit of sticking to clothes, so shower and change immediately after outdoor activities, and avoid drying sheets or clothes outside. When possible, stay indoors between 5:00 and 10:00 A.M., when allergen levels are highest.
- Skip the humidifier. While adding moisture to the air can soothe cold symptoms, using a humidifier can worsen allergies by causing rooms to become moldy. Dust mites also thrive in moist air. Reduce humidity by running your air conditioner.
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.
Regarding medication, there are many products advertised in the market with many claims about allergy treatment. Be sure you that you check each medication to ensure that they are FDA approved. We recommend everyone using these products to talk to their doctors about alternative products and to share any side effects from taking these medications.
Be safe. Be well. Be careful.
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