Spring can be one of the most romantic – or painful – seasons, depending on one factor: allergies. If you are one of millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you are familiar with the common symptoms that include runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and wheezing.
What is an allergic reaction?
Allergy symptoms are the result of the body’s immune system fighting substances that usually are harmless as though these substances were trying to attack the body.
What are the most common spring allergies?
Outdoor allergens include pollen and grasses and indoor allergens include pet dander, dust, mold and dust mites. Other forms of allergy-related conditions are dry eye and oral allergy syndrome.
Dry eye occurs when the body does not produce enough tears to protect the eyes and environmental allergens such as mold or pollen cause them to become itchy and watery. Oral allergy syndrome, or pollen-food syndrome, is a type of food allergy caused by cross-contamination. The pollen contained in certain fresh foods, especially tree nuts, fruits and vegetables, can trigger a reaction, mainly in adults who suffer with hay fever. Typical symptoms are scratchy throat and tingly mouth.
What steps should I take to manage allergies?
The first step is to get tested by a board certified allergist to identify your allergens. If you suffer from allergies more than three months a year and medicines do not give you enough relief, your allergist may recommend allergy shots – also called immunotherapy. Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the substance or substances that trigger your allergic reactions. Exposure to the allergens helps your body get used to them and decreases the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
You also can minimize allergic reactions by reducing exposure to known allergens and taking steps to adjust your environment. These include utilizing a professional vacuuming and cleaning service, using HEPA filters, closing windows, checking the daily pollen count, keeping pets off upholstered furniture and beds, washing bedding and stuffed toys and keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 45 percent.
True or false?
Cut flowers make me sneeze.
True, if they are “male” flowers, which carry the pollen; false, if they are flowers without allergic pollen. The colorful flowers most often used in beautiful bouquets usually do not contain pollen.
Ingesting a small quantity of locally produced honey keeps allergies at bay.
False, in most cases. This “local honey” theory is based on the same concept as immunotherapy, which uses exposure to allergens to build the immune system. However, there is no guarantee that the honey you ingest will contain the specific pollens that trigger your allergies. An allergy shot is proven effective therapy for relief of allergy symptoms for most inhalant allergies.
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has 17 convenient locations throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-4-ALLERGY or visit florida-allergy.com.