Springtime brings warmer weather, budding flowers and greener trees. Many people look forward to opening windows to air out the house after a stuffy winter and participating in outdoor activities.
Others simply dread the onset of allergy season. For countless sufferers spring allergies mean an abundance of congestion, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and a scratchy throat. More severe symptoms include asthma and migraine headaches.
Spring allergy symptoms usually start to plaque communities at the beginning of April, depending on your region. Once the temperature hits 60 degrees or more for at least four consecutive days, allergy season is in full effect. At this time, plants start releasing pollen into the air and unleashing a bittersweet chain of effects. The coarse floating reproductive matter will help plants and flowers bloom, at the same time spreading misery. To prepare for allergy season and manage symptoms before they begin, it may be helpful to start taking an antihistamine in mid-March.
It may take some experimenting to determine which meds work best for you. Popular brand name antihistamines include Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Medications are available over-the-counter and in prescription strength. These drugs will control sneezing and a runny nose. They will also help ease an itchy nose and eyes. Keep in mind that antihistamines are known for causing drowsiness. Discuss all possible side effects with your doctor.
Decongestants aren’t to be used as preventative measures, like antihistamines. These medications offer symptom relief when your sinuses are stuffed. They help alleviate discomfort by shrinking inflamed nasal passages. Commonly used decongestants include brand name drugs like Actifed, Sudafed, and Afrin. They are fast-acting and good to use only once in a while. Overuse can have a rebound effect, resulting in worsened symptoms.
Nasal sprays and eye drops
Corticosteroid nasal sprays can be effective at clearing a stuffed nose and managing sneezing, but it can take some time before you feel relief. Brands like Nasonex, Flonase and Nasacort are easy to use, just spritz up into each nostril.
Choose Lastacaft, Optivar, or Visine Allergy Formula to address itchy, watery eyes. These products are also fast acting and can be preventative. However, they can be too harsh for some folks, causing a headache or stinging sensation.
If you don’t achieve sufficient relief from your spring allergy season discomfort with medication therapy, you may consider allergy shots. You will be treated with a series of injections designed to boost your immunity by subjecting you to small amounts of allergens. Your system gradually builds up a tolerance for pollen and symptoms begin to cease. The process can take years to achieve the desired results.
How long do seasonal allergies last?
Some people suffer from allergy symptoms during the spring months, others in the fall or winter. Different plants pollinate at varying times of the year. These groups get some relief during their off-season. Those who are allergic to the plants that pollinate in the spring, summer, fall, and winter are plagued all year long. It all depends on where you live and the diversity of your allergies. Your doctor can administer a skin or a blood test to determine exactly which allergens are a problem for you.
Extra allergy tips
If you prefer to try holistic methods to treat your symptoms, some people ease their discomfort by use of nasal irrigation with a neti pot, acupuncture, and natural herbal remedies. Whatever treatment method you choose; it is still important to avoid your triggers. If the pollen count is high, it is best to stay indoors.
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