All You Need to Know About Seasonal Allergies
Spring is here, and you know what else comes with it? Seasonal allergies, or in layman's term, hay fever. While everybody welcomes the longer evenings and sunny weather, sufferers of hay fever dreaded their coming as it means that it's the sneezing season again. To make things worse, they last until the end of summer.
Do I Have Hay Fever?
You may not have seasonal allergies when you have sneezing and coughing, runny nose, itchy and red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis). These are common signs of a cold. But if you get them around the same time each year, such as Springtime or Summertime, then you probably have seasonal allergies. It's not very easy to spot the difference between these two because sometimes they come together.
What is Seasonal Allergies and How's It Different to Colds?
Seasonal allergies are seasonal allergic rhinitis triggered by the allergens in the air. These allergens are spores and pollen particles from outdoor molds, trees, grasses and weeds that spread into the air. In spring, plants release these allergens to fertilize other plants. Bees carry them carry them around when they go hopping from plant to plant, other animals carry them too on their furs or wings. Colds, on the other hand, is caused by a virus.
Signs and Symptoms of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (Vs. Colds)
By now, you probably know the signs of seasonal allergies and colds that they commonly share. How do you know if it's hay fever?
- One difference is the presence of itchiness. You will rarely experience itchy eyes, nose, and throat with a cold.
- The color of your nasal discharge. Colds give you yellowish/green discharge, whereas hay fever gives you clear mucus.
- A sore throat is an indicator of a cold at bay. This is different from having a dry, itchy feeling on the throat - a sign of seasonal allergies.
How Do You Get Seasonal Allergies?
Grass pollen is the most common cause of getting a hay fever. Pollen travels long distances and could affect just about anyone. But the highest pollen count is usually in the lowland areas where there is a lot of grasslands. The presence of other allergens could worsen the symptoms of hay fever: air pollution in the city, chemical gases, and even food.
When Do These Allergies Happen?
The start of the warmer weather could signal the beginning of seasonal allergies. It is during this time that plants fertilize other plants. Pollination is carried out by insects such as the bees and other plants release pollen into the air. To be exact, when they happen is not definite, you just have to be mindful of the weather.
How to Get Rid of Hay Fever?
The best thing to do to fight seasonal allergies is to lessen exposure to allergens. When you are known to have these allergies, take medications, under doctor's advise, before being exposed to allergens.
Finding the root cause is key to fighting off seasonal allergies.
- Immune System - According to Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a huge portion of the immune system is in the GI tract (source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/advancements-in-research/fundamentals/in-depth/the-gut-where-bacteria-and-immune-system-meet). What this means is that if you keep your gut healthy, you will improve your immune system, you are less likely to develop seasonal allergies then. A person taking several types of anti-allergies, steroids, and immunosuppressants will only compromise the immune system, making him more prone to allergies. But, checking the GI system for abnormalities, such as celiac disease, and treating it, is one step of improving the immune system. The introduction of probiotics to the diet is essential, as well as replacing bad diet practices with the good ones.
- Environment - While you can't stop the process of fertilization among plants, you can still do a lot to avoid seasonal allergies. Check your food for additives, pesticides, and chemicals that trigger allergies. You might consider moving to a less polluted area, if possible. Check for molds in the home or at work because they, too, release allergens into the air. You could use face masks or filter masks when out, although this might not be too good for your body image.
Fight Seasonal Allergies Naturally
The one way to fight seasonal allergies is to just keep rinsing your nose with nasal rinses. I personally use NeilMed Sinus Rinse because it has worked for me over the years. I suffer a very bad sinusitis when I get colds and before, I couldn't do anything except to go for medicines. I know that using saline water to drain the sinuses is good, something I learned in nursing school. However, it was hard getting the right mixture of salt and sterile water. When I discovered NeilMed Sinus Rinse, it was just an answered prayer. It is natural and effective, doesn't cause stinging to the nose. I would always advise anyone I know to do rinsing with NeilMed, you should too. I can vouch for its efficiency.