The blooms on trees, the flowers bursting through the ground, the grass carpet on the ground turning a beautiful green, these are all signs of the changing season from the bitter winter blues to the warm breezes of spring.
At the same time, this change within nature can cause many people to suffer
with seasonal allergies. This comes from pollen, a powdery substance shed by trees, weeds, and grasses. Inhaled pollen can be recognized by our immune system as a foreign substance and it immediately jumps into action. The response to this pollen is generally characterized by sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, and a stuffy runny nose, perhaps even an uptick in stomach acid. Unlike a viral cold, allergies usually persist more than 2 weeks. Your primary healthcare practitioner will take into account the timing of your symptoms. Please let your practitioner know if you have any symptoms of asthma during this “blooming season”, which include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath.
- Tree pollen (especially from birches, oaks, elms, and maples) typically appears in spring.
- Grasses shed pollen in late spring and summer.
- Ragweed produces pollen in the fall.
- Mold spores often cause seasonal allergies during the spring, summer, and fall. They may also cause year-round allergies for people who live in buildings with too much moisture. Signs of excess moisture include high indoor humidity, water damage, or poor ventilation. Certainly, paying attention to the weather and the pollen counts can help you make wise decisions for outdoor activities. Consider closing your windows to your house, use air conditioning perhaps earlier than you would like, and change air filters. All these things can help with the symptomatic control of exposure to pollen. Then there is a plethora of treatment options, but the important thing to consider is which option is right for you! Stay tuned to Part 2, Treatment options.