Greene County News
FAIRBORN – The same warm breeze that signals the first reprieve from the winter blues also transports the most common sources for spring allergy symptoms.
About 50 million Americans will experience symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose and watery eyes due to the most common form of spring allergies. The source of these bothersome symptoms can be attributed to pollen produced by budding trees, growing grasses and weeds, and airborne mold spores, according to the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
The arrival of spring allergies and their severity depend heavily upon the preceding winter weather and the type of allergen that affects a particular person, says Anessa Alappatt, MD, a family physician with Fairborn Medical Center.
“Spring allergies depend on the weather we are having and when the pollen starts coming,” says Dr. Alappatt, who practices with Premier HealthNet. “If we have a cold, hard winter then we won’t see allergies surface until March. But if it is a mild winter we can see allergy symptoms pop up in February. Likewise, if a person’s allergy is due to budding trees then they may have symptoms only at the beginning of spring. Those whose allergy source comes from growing grass may need treatment all summer long.”
Spring allergies have hit early in the Dayton area in recent years because a mild winter has failed to completely kill plants that produce pollen.
“We enter spring with plants that are still somewhat alive, and the result is more pollen than usual,” Dr. Alappatt says.
It’s important to remember that everyone is at risk for developing spring allergies regardless of their age or medical history. Exposure to allergens at times when the body’s defenses are weak, such as after an illness or during pregnancy, may also play a role in developing certain allergies, the ACAAI says.
“Certainly people who have had fall allergies or other types of allergies are going to be more at risk for spring allergies,” she says. “Family history also plays a role. If someone in your family has a history of spring allergies it can increase your risk to develop them as well.”
Allergy symptoms may seem harmless, but the reality is that they can have a great impact upon a person’s day-to-day life. Spring allergies can lead to sinus infections, disrupt a person’s sleep and affect their ability to learn at school and be productive at work, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).
Individuals can take the following steps to keep their allergies under control:
Know the source – Everyone’s spring allergies are triggered by something. Grass, pollen and mold are some of the most common triggers for spring allergies. Carefully consider when your symptoms start and what makes them worse. A warm, windy day often creates high pollen counts. Rainy and damp springs can contribute to elevated mold counts.
Know the possible treatments – Talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. Allergy treatments are abundant and often over-the-counter, Dr. Alappatt says. Nasal spray medications seem to provide adequate relief to allergy sufferers, but more than one type of medication may be required to keep severe symptoms at bay, she says. Don’t be afraid to check back in with your doctor if symptoms do not get better.
Know the right timing – The best time to begin treatments for allergies is before the symptoms even start. This may be easy for someone who has an allergy history, but someone who is experiencing symptoms for the first time may need to experiment on timing. The important thing is to get on medication as soon as possible and to continue its use until after the allergy season is finished. Otherwise, symptoms will return, Dr. Alappatt says.
Know how to self-manage – Medication is not the only defense against allergies. Keep windows closed during high pollen count days and use your air conditioning. Take a shower at night to wash off allergens and frequently wash bedding.
For more information on spring allergies or to find a Premier HealthNet physician near you, visit www.premierhealthnet.com/doctor.
Story courtesy of Premier HealthNet.