Common symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy or runny nose, trouble breathing, eye irritation and post-nasal drip. Because symptoms can vary greatly among allergy sufferers, you may confuse this seasonal ailment with the common cold.
Most people experience allergies in response to the level of pollens or particulates in the air. Because each of us is sensitive to different types of irritants, your allergy symptoms can vary from day to day.
Particulates in the air typically include blowing dust, pollution from car exhaust and residue from the wood fires we enjoy during the colder months. The degree of contamination can increase in response to weather patterns, which can trap particulates in the air.
Pollens, typically released by plant life, are carried through the air by the wind. When these microscopic, powdery grains find their way into your eyes, nose or lungs, allergic reactions can develop as a result.
Sneezing, coughing and watery eyes are all indications of your body’s quest to rid itself of these allergens!
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, avoiding an onset of symptoms can be difficult to avoid. Fortunately, you can take proactive steps to reduce your exposure and lessen your symptoms.
- Keep your home and car windows and doors closed to keep pollen out.
- Avoid outdoor activities, especially during the morning when allergen levels are at their highest.
- Wear a mask while mowing the lawn or working in the garden
- Vacuum your house often, ideally with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner
- Upgrade the quality of your home’s HVAC filters and change them often
- Machine dry clothing and bedding, as laundry can collect pollen on the line
You can find daily pollen and particulate forecasts in your local newspaper or through a weather app on your smartphone. On those days when levels are expected to be high, avoid spending time outside as much as possible, especially if it’s also windy.
Many allergy sufferers find relief with over-the-counter medications; however, it’s important that you check with your doctor first before taking any type of medication.
If your symptoms don’t respond to this approach, see your doctor to rule out a sinus infection, cold or flu. Your doctor can recommend effective strategies for alleviating your symptoms and providing sweet relief from seasonal allergies.