With the weather slowly starting to warm up throughout Eastern Idaho, that means blossoms will soon be forming on the trees and flowers will be blooming. While we all enjoy this time of year when we finally can escape the long nights, snow, and cold temperatures, for many people, though, spring brings another annoyance: seasonal allergies.
One of the most chronic conditions around the world is allergies. Having an allergic reaction starts in your immune system, which protects you from organisms that can cause illness. If you’re allergic to something that means your immune system is mistaking a harmless substance—an allergen—as an invader.
As many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies and at least 35.9 million Americans have seasonal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). Each day during springtime, they wake up with a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat—all symptoms of seasonal allergies.
For 99 percent of patients with allergies, it is not a life-and-death situation, but rather a quality-of-life issue. Seasonal allergies are caused by the increased amount of pollen and other substances in the air around us. For some people, the body has a negative reaction to these substances, treating them almost as poison. This is what ultimately results in sneezing, an itchy throat, runny nose, watery eyes, and other symptoms.
According to the AAAAI, a number of different allergens can cause an allergic reaction such as pollen, dust, foods, animal dander, mold, medications, and latex. If you’re allergic to any of these things, your immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release histamine and other chemicals, thus causing an allergic reaction.
You don’t have to live in a bubble to avoid seasonal allergy attacks.
The AAAAI recommends that allergy sufferers begin the spring season with a thorough household cleaning, because mold, dust, and other allergens tend to collect during the winter. Pay attention to the pollen and mold counts and avoid outdoor activities until 10 a.m., because pollen counts are highest in the morning. Stay indoors as much as possible if you’re experiencing severe symptoms, especially on windy days. The wind can blow around particles in the air, making you more likely to pick them up. If you’ve been out in the garden or outside for a long period of time, you may even want to take a shower and wash your clothes to get pollen and other particles off your body.
If allergy symptoms become unmanageable or resistant to current methods of treatment, schedule an appointment with one of our family medicine specialists. They can talk to you about some of your other options. There are some types of prescription medication that can help alleviate your symptoms. Don’t wait to get relief.
If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, please talk to your doctor. Bingham Memorial Family Medicine has family medicine specialists in offices throughout Eastern Idaho: Blackfoot, Shelley, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls. Same-day and next-day appointments are available for patients who need to see the doctor right away. Call (208) 785-4100 to find a family medicine specialist near you or visit: www.BinghamMemorial.org/Family-Medicine.
The content on our website is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.