A Not-So-Welcome Return for Allergies
The sun is shining a little longer these days. The snow is melting, and the temperature is not quite so unfriendly (or at least not often so bitter). But along with the return of nicer weather, comes the start of what, for many, is one of the peskiest times of the year—allergy season.
Don’t mistake allergies for a cold
Allergies can sneak up on us, with symptoms that disguise themselves like those of a common cold virus. But a runny or congested nose, red and watery eyes, cough and sinus headache that last for more than a week–which is the typical duration of a cold–can be signs of allergies.
Airborne allergens, such as pollen or mold, begin to take their toll in the spring and continue through the summer and fall. Molds thrive with the onset of the first spring thaw, feeding on the vegetation that has been killed by snow cover and cold temperatures. The rise in the pollen count has less to do with temperature as it does with the length of the day. Pollen can be carried in the air for long distances, making it among the most widespread allergens and the most difficult to avoid.
Indoor allergens make for year-long suffering
If you find that you suffer from allergy-like symptoms throughout the year, you may be allergic to indoor irritants, such as dust mites or the dander from furry household family members. In this case, trying to avoid the allergen, especially in the bedroom where most of us spend around eight hours each day, is a good start. Hardwood, tile or linoleum floors are better than carpeting, which easily traps dust and pet dander.
And speaking of those furry or feathered friends—it’s best to keep them outdoors or in other areas of the home. Encasing mattresses and box springs in plastic, removing dust collectors, like blinds and stuffed toys, and washing linens weekly in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit (lower temperatures do not kill dust mites) are also essential steps for creating a dust-free environment.
Treat symptoms with help from your doctor
While over-the-counter decongestants may help relieve your allergy symptoms for the short-term, these products should not be used for more than a few days at a time. Taken more frequently, they can contribute to other health problems, such as high blood pressure or even further congestion and swelling of the nasal passages.
Your physician can test for allergies with a blood test or common skin test, which looks for the presence of antibodies to specific local irritants. Medications can also can be prescribed, such as an antihistamine or a topical nasal steroid, to help relieve the misery of prolonged allergy symptoms and help you enjoy the return to spring.
Healthy Living Article List
|For Women||For Seniors||Fighting Cancer||Your Heart||Emergency 101|
|Work Smart||Bones, Muscles and Joints||Nutrition News||Advice From Our Docs|