Spring and summer both constitute a beautiful time of the year, with flowers, grasses, weeds and trees all in bloom. While you may want to enjoy the scent of the fresh air outdoors, you may find yourself a victim of sneezing, sniffling, itching, and irritation in the eyes, caused by the presence of allergens in the air.
Seasonal allergies can adversely affect your health and disturb your everyday activities. If left untreated, seasonal allergy symptoms can have serious effects on the health of your loved ones as well, causing asthma attacks, fatigue, tiredness, sinus pressure, and even asthma-related hospitalizations and emergencies. In Arizona, where the summer is marked by monsoons, there is additional growth of allergens. So, it is essential that you protect your loved ones and help them effectively cope with allergies during this season.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
• Pollen Produced by Trees and Flowers: Very small and light pollen released by trees, grasses, and flowers that travel through the air for reproductive purposes.
• Ragweed and Other Weed Pollens: Weed pollens are essentially pollen from weeds which can cause severe health issues such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy throat, hay fever and headaches. Ragweed is a plant that grows commonly and releases a billion pollen grains that get carried long distances by the wind. Ragweed pollens aggravate asthma symptoms, causing excessive coughing and wheezing. Other common sources of weed pollens include pigweed, lamb’s quarters and tumbleweed.
• Molds: Molds are microscopic spore-producing fungi. The spores spread through the air and cause allergies. Outdoor mold concentrations occur amid dense vegetation, hay, and straw. Mold growth typically increases after extended rains, which makes people living in Arizona subject to some types of mold allergies even though the climate is mainly arid.
Useful Tips to Counter Seasonal Allergies
With the implementation of timely precautions and best practices, you and your family can cope with and counter seasonal allergies. Here are some useful tips:
Take Allergy Medications: If your loved ones are prone to seasonal allergies, the best thing that you can do for them is to begin their allergy medications a couple of weeks before the ‘allergy’ season (spring or summer, as the case may be) sets. By doing so, you equip them with a protective shield that automatically reduces their chances of allergic reaction to pollens, particularly weed pollens, or molds.
Stay Indoors: Ensure that your loved ones stay indoors as much as possible during this season when pollen and mold counts are at the highest level. If there is a need to step outside, make sure they take a shower and change clothes immediately after returning home. These measures help rinse off the allergens that tend to get stuck onto the body and continue to cause allergies indoors.
Shut the Windows: It is good to keep the windows of your home closed as much as possible. This move will help keep the pollens as well as molds out of your home. Pollen grains of small sizes can typically blow in at night and cover various surfaces of your home, causing allergic reactions later. If you happen to travel with your loved one in a car, ensure that the windows are rolled up as well.
Use Air Conditioning: Air conditioning during the spring and summer is an important preventive against allergens. In addition to cooling the air, A/c actually helps clean and dry the air, which makes it easier to inhale since it is filtered to reduce airborne particles.
Rinse the Nasal Passage: The most common passage for allergens to enter the body is through the nose. Therefore, suggest the affected sufferer rinse the nasal passage on a regular basis with a solution of salt and water. This will help wash off the allergens that may accumulate from time to time, thereby preventing allergies.
Allergy Shots: This is a preventive measure that can provide long-lasting relief. Commonly known as Subcutaneous Immunotherapy or SCIT, this treatment involves a series of shots that have greater amounts of allergen. With each shot, the allergen gets into the subcutaneous layer of the skin and the body’s immune system helps fight the allergen, which creates a better resistance. Research reveals that many patients have experienced complete relief from 1 to 3 years after taking the shots.
Following the above tips will help you manage the seasonal allergies that are most common during the spring and summer in Arizona, and if all else fails, don’t hesitate to use over the counter allergy control medicines and/or consult an ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) specialist.