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Crush Spring Allergies

PostedSeptember 11, 2018

Spring Allergies

Spring often comes with a major buzzkill. Natural allergies and other airborne triggers have doubled over the past 20 years – clogging up even those who’ve always been sniffle-free.

So, when “ah” it’s almost spring, become “ah-choo”; you are probably one of a third of South Africans suffering from some sort of allergic profile. Fact is that these sensitivities could have a significant impact on daily life, affecting sleep, productivity, state of mind and relationships.

The most common spring allergies include pollen, mould (although mould is a year round problem, there’s a definite upswing in allergic reactions during spring), and also, of course, dust mites.

Although most allergies can’t be cured, they can be well controlled. Your doctor will make a diagnosis after taking a detailed history and doing a thorough physical examination, which can include specific blood tests or skin prick testing. And, of course, once you know what your allergen is, it’s critical to try to reduce exposure to it as much as possible.

So, if you treat the arrival of spring with a stuffy nose and watery eyes instead of a happy heart, it’s time to take a new look at your seasonal allergies.

Try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control:

Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers. Once you are aware of the triggers, try your best to avoid it.

Stay indoors on dry windy days. Keep windows and sunroofs closed.

Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other garden chores that stir up allergens. Wear a dust mask to prevent allergens from getting into your airways. If you know the exact tree, grass and weed pollens that affect you, try to remove them and plant more tolerable types. But, remember that airborne pollens can travel hundreds of miles from where they’ve originated.

Keep indoor plants to a minimum.

Remove fitted carpets or vacuum daily.

Make a costume change when you come inside – that way you won’t trek pollen and dust all over your house after gardening or hiking; shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.

Make sure that your home is well-ventilated after showering.

Don’t hang laundry outside – pollen can stick to sheets and towels. Wash your grubbiest duds in hot water to kill 100% of allergy causing mites and most pollen.

Consider alternative therapies. Butterbur works as well as antihistamines. Also, consider acupuncture.

Beware of foods that trigger your symptoms. If your mouth, lips and throat get itchy and you sniffle and sneeze after eating certain raw foods, you may have “oral allergy syndrome”. This condition affects one third of seasonal allergy sufferers and occurs in people who are already allergic to pollen. This is where the immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those of the food, causing a reaction. If you are allergic to tree pollen, for example, foods like apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, oranges, almonds and walnuts may bother you. Cooking or peeling them could help, but you should talk to your allergist. Increase your intake of antioxidants which is essential to prevent the free radicals which are often elevated in allergies.

Drink lots of fluids, it will help to clear congestion and a postnasal drip.

Avoid cigarette smoke. This will aggravate your symptoms, worsening your runny nose and watery eyes. Avoid aerosol sprays and smoke from wood-burning fireplaces.

Clean safely. Harsh chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and trigger your symptoms, try cleaning with baking soda and vinegar.

Slip on some shades. Sunglasses can clear things up by keeping pollen off your lashes and lids.

Last but not least, don’t be so rough on yourself. A 2007 study published in Trend in Immunology, found that scrubbing with harsh, abrasive soaps can strip away a layer of protective cells on your skin and actually allow allergens to penetrate.

Outsmart seasonal allergies by making smart lifestyle changes. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if symptoms persist.




DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.