Does Spring Have You Sneezing and Wheezing?

What does spring hold for you? Does it mean basking in the newfound sunshine and enjoying the beauty of the blossoming flowers? Or runny noses, sneezing and boxes of facial tissue? With the flowering season comes a myriad of problems for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance, called an allergen. Symptoms might often be confused with a common cold: runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy, puffy or watery eyes, sneezing and wheezing.

How do you tell if it is a common cold versus an allergic symptom?

With a common cold, you will have the symptoms one by one – usually starting with sneezing, followed by a runny nose and finally congestion, All of these symptoms usually last for about seven to 10 days. Symptoms are occasionally accompanied by a fever. The common cold is more prevalent during the winter months, although a person could catch it at any time of the year.

On the other hand, seasonal allergies usually start around spring time and last until fall – the time of the year when pollen is in the air. All of the symptoms mentioned above usually occur simultaneously, and usually last as long as the person is exposed to the allergen. It is typically not accompanied by fever.

Tree pollen allergies strike in late winter to early spring, grass allergies can occur from spring through summer, and ragweed typically strikes in the fall.

What can you do to prevent or reduce symptoms associated with seasonal allergies?

Stay indoors if possible when pollen counts are high. Pollen counts tend to peak between 5:00am and 10:00am each day. (Tip: Get a four-day allergy forecast for your area online.)

There are a variety of both over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help treat symptoms of seasonal allergies. Talk to your health care provider about what might work best for you!

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