Spring is officially in the air in some parts of the country—like Alabama! For some of us, spring means sunshine and flowers. For others, it’s a bit more foreboding thanks to the pollen those flowers produce. Here are some things to know about pollen as a spring allergy trigger as we head into the season.
Let it bloom!
Along with the beauty of spring comes some of nature’s nastiest little allergens—tiny particles known as pollen! While we appreciate the end results of pollen in the form of blooming flowers, budding trees and growing grasses, most people could probably do without what’s commonly known as “hay fever.”
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, affects more than 5 million children and 19 million adults in the United States.
Symptoms often include itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and swelling around the eyes, just to name a few.
Now, let’s circle back to pollen as a spring allergy trigger. In a nutshell, tree pollen tends to be the main culprit behind spring pollen allergies. However, it isn’t the only trigger, as grass pollen enters the scene in spring and summer too.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to pollen is the fact it can travel for miles on a windy day. That means your neighborhood trees and grasses aren’t the only ones reaching your eyes, nose and/or lungs.
Once these tiny particles enter your body, they begin to produce histamines, which are released in the blood. Then those histamines present themselves as itchy eyes and runny noses for those with seasonal allergies.
As far as what’s in the air in Alabama during the spring, there’s a wide range of pollenating trees that peak from March to May. A few of the more notorious pollinators include beech, elm, oaks, hickory, pines, cottonwoods and sycamores.
There are also several different types of grasses that can trigger spring allergies due to pollen. One of the most common in Alabama is Bermuda. However, Johnson and rye aren’t far behind in certain areas.
Breathe a sigh of relief
The good news is there is more to the story behind pollen as a spring allergy trigger. There are steps you can take to reduce your reaction to pesky pollen particles.
For example, you can start taking an antihistamine before pollen season strikes. You can limit your time outdoors during peak pollen season. Keep your windows closed during this time as well.
Consider wiping down or bathing your pets after they spend extra time outside. Take a shower before you go to bed to reduce the transfer of pollen from you to your bedding.
Besides antihistamines, other allergy treatments include nasal sprays, decongestants and allergy shots.
Are you asking yourself if you or a loved one suffers from seasonal allergies like hay fever? We can help you find out at our Allergy Clinic. We offer a range of allergy testing as well as treatments—including immunotherapy, or allergy shots. For more about us, our services and other ENT health news, keep reading our blogs!