A Quick Guide to Spring Allergies

For many people, the spring months are the most anticipated part of the year. Given the often freezing and snowy weather of winter, it’s no wonder why so many people look forward to the beginning of spring. As enjoyable as this season is, it is not without drawbacks – as those with spring allergies can attest.

The Problem of Pollen

When it comes to springtime allergies, the biggest culprit is a substance known as pollen. Pollen grains, which come in a wide range of sizes, are released by grasses, trees and weeds into the air in order to fertilize other plants.

On the surface, it would seem that pollen should pose no threat to our health. And to be sure, pollen grains by themselves are perfectly harmless. The problem is that, for those with allergies at least, the immune system doesn’t see it that way. Instead, the body’s immune system treats pollen as a hostile invader, and responds by releasing chemicals known as histamines into the bloodstream. It is these chemicals that lead to the common allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes and swollen nasal passages.

So which trees and other plants does this pollen come from? There are too many to list in this article alone, though there are a number of well-known trees that release allergy-triggering pollen, including beech, maple, oak and pine trees. As far as other plants are concerned, significant amounts of pollen are emitted from bermuda, june, redtop and fescue grasses.

Getting Relief

As troublesome as allergies can be, there are a number of over-the-counter and prescription treatments that can successfully alleviate allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines: Since histamine is responsible for the health issues associated with allergies, it would make sense to take medicines designed to lower your levels of this chemical.

Decongestants: Decongestants work to reduce nasal passage swelling by shrinking blood vessels inside the nose.

Steroid Nasal Sprays: This type of treatment is used for easing nasal inflammation. However, many steroid nasal sprays are only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Eye Drops: Many allergy sufferers turn to eye drops as a way of treating itchy, watery eyes.

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