By: Lara Shapiro
The official first day of spring usually comes while we’re still bundled in sweaters and jackets. That’s why many of us associate the month of April as the beginning of the spring season instead of the date marked on our calendars. While it does bring flowers, birds, and sunshine, it also brings pollen.
Springtime gives us many things to look forward to – birds singing their songs, natural vitamin D from the sun, ditching a gym membership and opting for a refreshing outdoor run, bees bumbling from one beautiful flower to the next – the list goes on. For some, however, these seasonal changes come with an unwanted package… Seasonal allergies.
What They Are, What They Arent’
Watery eyes, tingly nose, scratchy throat, itchy skin, sneezing, nasal congestion – take it from a sufferer – seasonal allergies bite (the dust!). These symptoms can make it hard to fully reap the happiness that spring can bring. But there may be something we can do about it.
It’s easy to mistake seasonal allergies for a common cold. When we get a cold, our immune system fires back to fight the virus with coughs and a runny nose. Seasonal allergies are not viruses, but instead they are antigens that can trigger the same reactions. When our immune system encounters these antigens, it goes into attack mode to prepare for the war that it thinks is to come. For those of us that know these allergens are in route to ambush, we can take steps to try and prepare.
What To Do About Allergy Season
During one especially brutal allergy season after multiple visits to the doctor’s office, I was convinced that I was sick. After breaking the news to me that there was no prescription to cure my conditions (such as an antiviral or antibiotic), one doctor recommended that I begin taking allergy medicine before the season strikes. Each year since as winter comes to an end, that recommendation rings in the back of my mind like an alarm – because it truly helped.
As well as getting ahead of the game and beginning allergy medication before the allergens emerge, there are many other things you can do to try and avoid the bothersome symptoms:
- Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers.
Stay indoors on windy days, change clothes and/or take a quick rinse off after being outside, and avoid hanging laundry outdoors.
- Check the weather + pollen levels each morning.
Although it’s tempting to open doors and windows for fresh air, it might be best to keep those shut if you suffer from allergies. One can also use a dehumidifier to keep the air in their home clean and dry.
This season can be more than just sneezes and sniffles. Take these simple steps, keep calm, and spring on!