What You Need to Know About Spring Allergies
If you suffer from spring allergies, you’re not alone. It’s now estimated that 10% to 30% of the global population is affected by hay fever, and that 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. More important, those numbers are rising. Childhood asthma rates in the U.S., for example, doubled between 1980 and 1995.
Many attribute the increased incidence of allergens and asthma triggers to climate change and a lengthened growing season. The World Allergy Organization expects climate change to impact the start, duration, and intensity of pollen season, activating a greater number of allergies over longer periods of time.
If you’re one of those affected, here’s what you need to know to find seasonal allergy relief from what appears to be a growing trend.
What Causes Allergies?
The same pollen grains that assist in a plant’s reproduction can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitized. In general, both spring allergies and certain forms of asthma are triggered by airborne pollen grains that get released into the air when trees begin to flower.
Why Allergies Intensify
In general, milder winters, increased rainfall, mold, and rising CO2 levels create an ideal climate for promoting the growth of allergens, such as ragweed. These prime conditions produce an increased output of more potent pollen over a longer growing season.
“We’re seeing increases in both the number of people with allergies and what they’re allergic to,” explains Leonard Bielory, a professor and allergy specialist at the Rutgers University Center of Environmental Prediction and attending physician at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. “Should warming continue, then more people will be exposed to seasonal allergens with subsequent effects on public health.”
Other physicians also are noting an increase in allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as an increase in the number of sufferers seeking seasonal allergy relief.
Surprising Facts That May Be Worsening Your Allergies
So how does all this impact allergy and asthma sufferers? Where you live matters. The milder the winter, the more severe the allergy season. The longer growth season—and the increased allergens that result—make life difficult for allergy sufferers, especially for those who live in the drier, northern regions of the U.S., and for city dwellers in all parts of the nation.
This is because drier areas are experiencing more significant climate changes than the typically warmer, wetter, rural latitudes of the South. For city dwellers, higher CO2 levels are to blame.
If you live in a heavily populated urban area such as South Florida, or spend much of the year in a northern climate, you may be exposed to higher levels of allergens over an extended period of time. For the tens of millions of Americans who are known allergy sufferers, finding seasonal allergy relief has never been more essential for limiting time off from work and school and, in severe cases, preventing life-threatening emergencies.
Tips for Getting Your Allergies Under Control
While you may not be able to change where you live, you can better adjust to seasonal allergy triggers and avoid unnecessary misery by getting appropriate seasonal allergies treatment. However, it’s important to seek help at the very first signs of a warming trend. Allergy shots and other medications are most effective when utilized before pollen season sets in. Consider seeing a healthcare provider at MD Now as soon as you hear the first warm weather forecast.
If you’re unsure what triggers your reactions, an allergy screening can help. Once your sensitivities have been pinpointed, your healthcare provider can work with you to develop a seasonal allergies treatment plan. This will likely involve avoiding known triggers and taking medication to prevent or limit the severity of your reactions.
Regardless of severity, seasonal allergies and asthma should be taken seriously. Consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. At the very least, you deserve to feel good, remain active, and get a good night’s sleep.
Natural Remedies for Spring Allergies
Allergy relief isn’t limited to prescription medications, inhalers, or over-the-counter sinus sprays. Many sufferers swear by natural remedies for spring allergies.
The choices for spring allergies natural remedies range from nasal irrigation tools like the neti pot, to acupuncture for easing swelling and reducing pain, to an extract of butterburr, called Ze 399. In the latter case, use only the extract of this natural antihistamine, since other forms contain compounds that can damage the liver.
Certain foods also work well as spring allergies natural remedies. Bromelain is a natural enzyme found in pineapples that may help to ease inflammation and thin mucus. Onions, apples, red wine, and tea contain quercetin, a natural chemical that acts like an antihistamine. Spicy foods can help clear congestion, and honey has long been used to soothe a sore throat from too much coughing. Keep in mind that honey should never be fed to children under one year old.
Are You Suffering from Asthma, Allergies, or Another Respiratory Ailment?
Symptoms such as sneezing, sniffling, runny noses, and watery eyes can indicate many different conditions. To determine what’s causing your symptoms, MD Now® Urgent Care can help. After making a proper asthma, allergy, or respiratory diagnosis, your MD Now provider can recommend treatment to help relieve symptoms, providing the care you need, exactly when you need it.
Our South Florida walk-in medical centers are open 8 AM to 8 PM daily to deliver fast and affordable allergy, asthma, and respiratory care to adults and children throughout Indian River, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Our state-of-the-art, walk-in medical centers offer an affordable and convenient alternative to long emergency room wait times and the limited hours of family physicians. No appointment is necessary, and major insurance plans are accepted.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, walk in to your nearest MD Now Urgent Care location today. Walk-ins are welcome, and all major insurance plans are accepted. Check in online at www.MDNow.com, or by calling 888-MDNow-911.