Living Well

Spring Allergies 101

Spring Allergies 101

Spring is finally here! But for allergy sufferers, it can be a headache of dealing with allergy symptoms. An allergy is a reaction to a substance called an allergen. Normally, allergens are harmless. But when a person has allergies, the body thinks they are harmful. The body then attacks allergens with antibodies.

What causes spring allergies?
The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. Trees, grasses, and weeds release these tiny grains into the air to fertilize other plants. When they get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the body's defenses haywire.

What are the common allergy symptoms?

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

What are nasal allergies?

Nasal allergies are also called allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis is a reaction that happens in the eyes, nose, and throat when allergens in the air trigger the release of histamine in the body. Histamine causes itching, swelling, and fluid to build up in the fragile linings of nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids.

Are your kids at risk for allergic rhinitis?

Children with asthma are at a higher risk for rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is a common problem that may be linked to asthma. However, this link is not fully understood. Experts think that since rhinitis makes it hard to breathe through the nose, it is harder for the nose to work normally.

How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?
Typically, the diagnosis is made by your healthcare provider based on a thorough medical history and physical exam. During the exam, your healthcare provider may also find dark circles under the eyes, creases under the eyes, and swollen tissue inside the nose. If this is the case, then your healthcare provider may refer you to see an allergist. An allergist is a healthcare provider who is trained to do allergy skin testing. This will tell you exactly what things are causing your symptoms.

What are the over-the-counter allergy remedies?

  • Antihistamines - reduce sneezing, sniffling and itching by lowering the amount of histamine in your body.
  • Decongestants - shrink the blood vessels in the nasal passageways to relieve congestion and swelling.
  • Nasal sprays decongestants - relieve congestion and may clear clogged nasal passages faster than oral decongestants
  • Eye drops - relieves itchy, watery eyes