During March and April in Georgia, it’s hard to escape: yellow coatings of dust on cars and outdoor furniture, or rimes of it along the edges of puddles and curbs after the rain. Some of you may have sensed it, however — with your sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and itchy eyes — long before it was even visible.
Yes — spring is here, which means an increase in airborne pollen particles from trees, flowers, and grasses, and a resulting increase in allergic reactions to them. At LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, we care about providing compassionate, comprehensive care for you and your family in all seasons. Here are some recommendations we have for our local neighbors regarding this condition.
Besides Annoying, What are Allergies, Really?
“An allergy occurs,” The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explains, “when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.” These substances are called allergens, and when encountered by the immune system of someone with allergies, they cause the production of immunoglobulin E — resulting in your allergic reaction.
There are several types of allergens, including in food, pet hair, certain medicines, and even latex. But the allergic symptoms you might be experiencing as early as mid-February and even into May in Georgia are likely due to seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever:
- Runny & stuffy nose
- Mucus production
- Itchy nose, eyes, ears and mouth
- Red, watery, and irritated eyes
According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology allergies may also affect your concentration and focus, and cause feelings of irritability and fatigue — so they can impact your life in broader ways than simply requiring more tissues.
What Treatments are Available?
There are several nonprescription treatments The Mayo Clinic suggests may help with your allergic rhinitis symptoms:
- Oral antihistamines – Examples include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Decongestants – These can be administered either orally as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol) or in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine).
- Nasal spray – “Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.”
- Combination medications – These combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, such as loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).
Some natural remedies may provide relief, as well, though keep in mind that it is important to speak to your doctor before beginning any new supplements or herbal remedies, as they may interfere with certain medications.
Three potential remedies reviewed by experts at Medical News Today include:
- Vitamin C – Found primarily in fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes and tomato juice.
- Bromelain – Available as a supplement, but also found at the core of pineapples and in pineapple juice.
- Quercetin – An antioxidant flavonoid found in many plants and food, including broccoli, kale, grapes, and berries.
Action May Be the Best Medicine
Avoiding pollen may feel impossible during the spring months in Georgia, but there are some other actions you can take to minimize your exposure:
- Monitor the daily pollen count and limit outdoor activities when they are at their highest.
- Keep car and home windows closed, running air conditioning on the recycled air setting instead.
- Wash your hair and body before going to bed, to keep yourself from spreading pollen all over your sheets.
- And even then, wash bedding in hot water once a week.
- Change or clean your air filters regularly.
- If you have pets, wipe their paws and fur with a damp cloth before they come inside.
Learn More About LifeBrite
Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit the LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early website or call 229-723-4241.