More than 50 million people in the United States have allergies, making it the sixth leading chronic illness in the country. Seasonal allergies, more specifically hay fever and sinusitis, affect 8 and 11 percent of adults, respectively. That means there’s a whole lot of sniffling, sneezing, and downright misery happening when allergens are most abundant.
In most regions, allergens appear in the early spring and hang around until late fall. However, in some warmer areas, such as Florida, they appear as early as January. In most cases, if there isn’t frost, ice, or snow on the ground, there is something in the air that someone somewhere is allergic to.
Common Types of Spring Allergens
While allergies can come and go for most of the year, spring is an unusually harsh time for many people when it comes to allergies due to the rebirth and propagation of plant life. Following are a couple of types of allergens that are common in the spring:
One of the worst culprits of spring seasonal allergies is tree pollen. At its zenith in early spring, tree pollen is produced by numerous types of trees, 11 in total, and can be carried for miles by a spring breeze. While you may not be allergic to all types of tree pollen, it only takes one type to mess up your day.
Pollen from the following trees is known to cause allergic symptoms in those who are sensitive: oak, sycamore, maple, elm, birch, walnut, hickory, poplar, ash, and western red cedar.
Mold is abundant in the environment, and it can pack a nasty punch. What’s more, it can be located outdoors as well as indoors, making it a difficult allergen to escape from. Some of the most common types of mold include mildew, yeast, aspergillus, penicillium, alternaria, and cladosporium.
In the spring and throughout the fall, mold propagates by releasing spores into the air. The spores are very lightweight and can be carried by the wind for long distances.
How to Treat Allergy Symptoms
The best defense against allergens is to avoid them as much as possible when levels are high. Keep your doors and windows shut and watch the news for your local allergy report. When pollen and mold spore counts are high, avoid working and playing outdoors.
Keep in mind that it is impossible to avoid all allergens, all the time. Stock up on allergy medications before spring hits. In addition to purchasing medications that will treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, look at preventative medications. They are very effective at stopping allergy symptoms before they start. And, remember, all OTC allergy medicine is currently 20 percent off at Wiley’s Pharmacy.