Spring is beautiful, but it's also a key time of year for seasonal allergies. As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay fever start to sniffle and sneeze.
There's no cure but you can take steps to curb springtime allergies, from medication to household habits.
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.
The immune system mistakenly sees the pollen as a danger and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms that are all too familiar if you have allergies.
Pollen can travel for miles, so it’s not just about the plants in your neighborhood.
Grasses and weeds:
Pollen counts tend to be particularly high on breezy days when the wind picks up these sneeze-inducing grains and carries them through the air. Rainy days, on the other hand, wash away the allergens.
You may have:
Itchy eyes and nose
Dark circles under the eyes
6 Ways to Fight Spring Allergies
Preventing & treating itchy, watery eyes.
Always wash hands and face after coming in from outdoors, be sure to take frequent showers to remove pollen.
Wash hair more often as pollen can linger in your hair and when you lie down on your pillow or couch, your face can rub around in it, exposing you to more of the allergens.
Replace old makeup and use an applicator instead of fingers to prevent pollen contamination.
There are great prescription eye drops you may use once a day to reduce and/or limit eye allergies. Contact lens wearers may still wear contacts if they wait 10 minutes after inserting the drops.
Start taking your oral allergy medication now.
The sooner you start taking your oral allergy medication, the better. Ideally, just before or once the pollen count starts to creep up, then one should start taking their oral allergy medicine as well as their allergy eye drops.
People new to the area might feel that they have a cold, and after 1-2 years, they realize the pattern – its allergies! Again, the earlier the better when starting treatment!
Switch to single use contact lenses during allergy season.
Use one day disposable contacts during allergy season so that you insert a fresh, pollen free lens each day. This will greatly reduce your symptoms and keep your eyes itch-free.
For those who have moderate to severe allergies, discontinuing contact lenses when the pollen is at its peak cuts down on the pollen “sticking” on the lens and staying on the eye all day. If using single use lenses is not reducing your symptoms, switching to glasses during peak season may be a better choice.
Warning signs of something more serious.
If you have pain, decreased vision, or redness that gets worse, it could be signs of other eye issues and you should see the doctor right away.
What about the kiddos?
Be sure to encourage kids to wash their hands and face after recess or coming in from outdoors.
Have them change their clothes when they return home for the day.
Keep bedroom windows closed during peak pollen days.
Change pillow case if kids did not wash hair that day.
Discuss with their pediatrician options for treating their overall allergy symptoms, like taking an oral allergy pill.
Establishing the cause and having a doctor manage your eye allergies will help make sure you suffer less, click here to make an appointment with the doctors at Golden Eye Optometry.
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