The Inevitable Spring Fling

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By Elisa Caban on April 24, 2013, 12:15pm Last modified: April 25, 2013, 12:41pm

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Aah, finally, it’s the warm, sunny day you’ve been longing for! You decide to step outside for a relaxing walk and smile as you notice the bright daffodils dancing in the breeze, the vibrant green of the newly sprouted grass, the leaves on the trees starting to make their appearance, and the robins hopping and joyfully tweeting about. Aah, signs of spring are finally here after the seemingly endless winter we had. Aahchoo! Ugh, suddenly you’ve been hit by a sneeze attack and flung head-on into allergies!

Yes unfortunately, the inevitable spring allergy season is upon us and various reports point to it as being one of the worst. Experts say that this year’s allergy season will begin 14 days earlier and run 30 days longer than usual. Why is that?  Because we’ve had a lot of precipitation during late winter and temperatures are becoming warmer. That combined with high levels of carbon dioxide in the air is a recipe that nourishes trees and plants that produce pollen, and encourages more fungal growth, such as mold, and the release of spores. The explosion of pollen along with these other allergens triggers the allergic response known as allergic rhinitis. While there are many other types of allergies, we will be focusing on this one as it goes hand-in-hand with spring.

Allergic rhinitis is widely known as hay fever or seasonal allergies. It is a hypersensitivity reaction to airborne allergens which are normally not harmful to us. When these outdoor allergens are inhaled into the nose and lungs, they cause allergic reactions. These reactions include sneezing; coughing or wheezing; itchy, watery eyes; red, swollen eyelids; nasal congestion, and clear nasal discharge. All of these last as long as we are exposed to the allergen, which could mean the whole season. Not something we all want to hear, right? On the bright side, while there may not be a cure for allergic rhinitis, here are some things you could do to help you roll with it.

Before hitting the drugstore, try keeping the allergens out of your home by shutting your windows, taking your shoes off when you come inside, showering and washing your hair and clothes when you come inside or at least before going to bed, and using air filters and air conditioners. Try to avoid being outside around noon to late afternoon. Look into alternative therapies such as natural remedies to help you cope. Need more help? You can find over-the-counter treatments such as nasal decongestants and antihistamines at your local drugstore. The antihistamines block the chemical histamine released by your body’s mast cells in an allergic reaction. If your allergies are severe, you should make an appointment with an allergist who may prescribe a strong allergy medication for you and provide you with any other needed treatment.

Also keep in mind; while allergies may not be contagious, it is still possible for us to get other people sick. This is because pathogenic (disease causing) microorganisms are found in and on all of our bodies. We can still pass these germs on to others when we cough or sneeze even if we aren’t sick. That being said, the human body has a wide variety of defenses that allow people to resist infection and we have an amazing immune system. As a considerate precaution though, use tissues when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands as necessary, and use hand sanitizer.

Now that you’re fortified with the knowledge to deal with this inevitable spring fling, try and make the best of it! And if you love the outdoors as I do, nothing will hold you back from getting out and enjoying this beautiful season!

If you would like more information on allergies you may visit the website of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America at: www.aafa.org

Sources:

www.sheknows.com

www.weather.com

Medical Assisting Administrative and Clinical Procedures Including Anatomy and Physiology 4e

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Elisa Caban

Town: Danbury, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since March 2013.

Articles: 6

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