Warm weather is finally here. You want to enjoy Spring time but it is also time of year for seasonal allergies. As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay fever start to sniffle and sneeze.
High season usually kicks into gear when the thermometer hits 60 degrees for 3-4 days. When that happens, pollen from plants starts moving through the air — and your allergy misery begins. It depends on where you live, but that’s typically early April. To get a head start, try taking medication in mid- to late March. Some of the most common things people are allergic to are carried through the air
- Pollen is a major cause of allergies (a pollen allergy is often called hay fever or rose fever). Trees, weeds, and grasses release these tiny particles into the air to fertilize other plants. Pollen allergies are seasonal, and the type of pollen someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen.
- Molds are fungi that thrive both indoors and outside in warm, moist environments. Outdoors, molds can be found in poor drainage areas, such as in piles of rotting leaves or compost piles. Indoors, molds thrive in dark, poorly ventilated places such as bathrooms and damp basements. Molds tend to be seasonal, but some can grow year-round, especially those indoors.
- Dust mites are microscopic insects that live all around us and feed on the millions of dead skin cells that fall off our bodies every day. They’re the main allergic component of house dust. Dust mites are present year-round in most parts of the United States and live in bedding, upholstery, and carpets.
- One Pollen, Two Pollen, Three Pollen, More – Every year is labeled as the worst for allergy symptoms, and there could be some truth to that. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, pollen counts slowly rise annually and are expected to double by the year 2040. This is due to economic growth, global environment sustainability, temperature and human-induced changes, such as increased levels of carbon dioxide. By making an appointment with your allergist in January or February, you’ll be well on your way to relief before symptoms start.
- Home Sweet, Hay Fever – Where you live can determine the severity of suffering you may feel. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) ranked Knoxville, TN. as the 2012 Spring Allergy Capital for the third consecutive year. No matter where you live, allergies can be a problem all year long. ACAAI recommends speaking with your board-certified allergist about treatment options and for tips on how to eliminate allergy triggers in your home environment.
- Treat Before you Sneeze – Taking your allergy medication should be done well before the first sneeze. Allergists recommend you begin treating two weeks before your symptoms typically surface. While there isn’t a cure for spring allergies, there is something close. Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can modify and prevent disease progression.
- Pollens and Molds and Weeds, Oh My! – A mild winter may cause an early release of pollens from certain trees, and a longer season may be worsened by the priming effect. Once allergy sufferers are exposed to this early pollen, their immune system is primed to react to the allergens, meaning there will be little relief even if temperatures cool down before spring is in full bloom. If weather reports call for a streak of warm days, begin taking your medication.
- April Showers Bring More Symptoms – Not only will April’s showers bring more flowers, it might also cause more symptoms for spring allergy sufferers. Rain can promote plant and pollen growth. Wind accompanying a rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, also heightening symptoms. Allergists advise sufferers to know which pollens they are sensitive to and then check pollen counts. In spring and summer, during tree and grass pollen season, levels are highest in the evening. In late summer and early fall, during ragweed pollen season, levels are highest in the morning.