Posted by: Chelsea Hampton | May 3, 2012

Maintaining Calm During Allergy Season

Allergies, particularly hay fever, can be absolutely miserable. The sneezing, the congestion, and the itchy, watery eyes can be enough to make anyone want to stay indoors wearing a dust mask. Unfortunately, allergies are all too common. According to the Mayo Clinic website, hay fever affects more than 1 in 5 people. So, what exactly causes this kind of allergic reaction in some people? Oversensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen or pet dander, may provoke an exaggerated immune response. This response causes the immune system to develop antibodies to allergens perceived as “invaders,” which then causes histamine to be released into the bloodstream, which in turn causes the resulting allergy symptoms. While there are a multitude of allergens in the world, there are also many remedies to provide relief.

Common allergens include:

  • Pollen (including tree, grass and weed pollen)
  • Mold and fungi spores
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches

Seasonal allergens typically associated with hay fever include pollens, mold and fungi.

Options for allergy relief include:

  • Use of indoor air cleaners and HEPA filters
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
  • Over-the-counter antihistamine nasal sprays and eye drops
  • Immunotherapy. This must be discussed with a physician and set up through an appointment.
  • Prescription allergy medications and Corticosteroid creams, nasal sprays and medications. See a physician to discuss which option may be right for you.
  • Alternative remedies such as acupuncture, herbal teas and supplements, and modifying one’s diet. Research these options and talk with a physician before trying alternative treatments.

Prevention tips for avoiding allergy triggers: 

  • After spending time outdoors, be sure to shower and wash clothing. Pollen and dust can easily collect on skin, clothing and in hair.
  • Clean, clean, clean! One of the best ways to keep pollens, pet dander and dust mites at bay is to remove these triggers as much as possible. Clean and vacuum frequently to avoid buildup of allergens within the home. If needed, wear a dust mask when cleaning.
  • During times when pollen levels are high, keep windows shut and avoid spending time outdoors if possible.
  • Wash bedding weekly and avoid drying outdoors.

*This handy Allergy Alert from Pollen.com presents allergy levels in an easy-to-read format using a color-coded scale, and also includes information on the predominant pollens in your area.

-Pollen.com Allergy Alert – 4 Day Forecast http://pollen.com/allergy-forecast.asp

Allergies don’t have to disrupt your life! There are many options available for finding relief. Research preventative solutions and allergy remedies, and talk with a physician to find what’s right for you.

Information obtained and adapted from the following sources:

-Mayo Clinic: Allergies http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/allergies/DS01118

-Mayo Clinic: Hay Fever http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hay-fever/DS00174

-Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&cont=82

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

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