Ah spring; “In spring a young mans fancy turns to love.”
At least that is how the old saying goes. But it is not just the young men who are affected, When the temperature rises and days grow longer, trees; mostly the male trees, bloom and shed pollen. large clouds of the stuff, into the air in an attempt to pollinate the female of their species. Later in the year grass plants take their turn at pollinating offering up yet another assault of pollen for our delicate sinus passages. These two pollen sources are the primary causes of spring and summer allergies.
Some blame their allergies on flowers in the garden and in the wild but they are not the problem. For the greater majority, flowers are pollinated by insects not with wind born pollen. Your runny nose and sneezes, known as allergic rhinitis, and your itchy eyes, even your sinus symptoms are an immune response to air born pollen. Often these symptoms are inherited so if your parents sneeze and sniffle their way through spring, chances are good that at some point, you will be doing the same thing..
When the body encounters pollen for the first time the body’s immune system produces a response, that immune response is then remembered by the body. Every time a re-exposure to the pollen happens, the immune system reacts defensively . Your nose itches and runs, your eyes itch and water, and your sinuses may swell up and block your nasal breathing, In the worst of cases you may even suffer asthma symptoms. Some call it allergies, some say it’s hay fever or rose fever, what ever you call it, it is miserable.
Scientists have been studying this immune response for decades trying to resolve the symptoms of allergy sufferers. They have isolated the cells that respond and the substances that they secrete, they have found imbalances in the T-cells in the nasal tissue. Many blocking avenues have been tried to prevent the symptoms of hay fever.
The best way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid the triggers, the pollens. On perfectly pretty spring days when the sun rises to a brilliant blue ski, gentle warm breezes stir the freshly released pollen about. It comes in contact with the surface of your eye as well as the lining of your nose. It gets in your hair, on your cloths and on your face and eyelashes. To avoid pollen all together one must stay indoors in filtered air all the time, but this would be a boring life indeed.
Avoidance strategies are your best defencive moves. When venturing into the outdoors; try to wait to go out until after 10 or 11 AM. Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes, wash your hands frequently, wash your face often paying attention to your eyelashes. Your eyelashes do not need soap but a good flushing rinse helps to depollenate them. When you come in from gardening take a shower and wash your hair. Avoid perfumes, tobacco smoke, as well as dust and mold. Avoid rubbing your eyes, I know they itch but, hands off. Rubbing your eyes only mashes the pollen onto the surface of your eye and adds even more pollen from your eyelashes creating even more irritation.
Vacuum your bedroom starting with the ceiling! Yes that’s right the ceiling. Take down and clean your drapes, vacuum your bed frame and mattress. Dust or damp clean all horizontal surfaces. Then lastly do your floors. The choice of non carpeted floors helps with allergies. If you must have rugs on your floors, be sure to lift them and wash them or have them cleaned at least twice a year. Buy a good hepa-filter air cleaner and run it in your bedroom and another in your living ares.
If avoidance is not enough and you still can not live with your symptoms, head to the pharmacy for over the counter remedies. There are eye drops, nasal sprays and allergy tablets that all address allergy symptoms form a different perspective. Try some of them in combination. If your eyes are your worst symptom be sure to include eye drops in your routine. If an itchy runny nose is your bane be sure to take home a nasal spray. Your local herbalist or health food store has allergy remedies that go from tea tree oil to put above your mouth and around your nose, to stinging nettle capsules ginkgo, garlic and licorice which all work internally
If all else fails, head to your doctors office or see an allergy specialist. They have a huge arisnal of very effective tools to help your survive this pollen rich Spring season.
Stay healthy and be happy.