Does it seem like every person you know is complaining about how their allergies are bothering them? People at work, at school, and at the grocery store are all sounding a little stuffy and their eyes are red and watery. Seasonal allergies are indeed on the rise across the U.S., with almost 8% of adults and 9% of children suffering from them, resulting in over 11 million visits to the doctor’s office annually with allergy complaints. At this point, it might seem like allergy issues are a way of life, but if we can identify what causes allergies, shouldn’t there be ways we can prevent and manage them?
Let’s dive deeper into what we know:
What Causes Allergies?
While studying allergies is less of an exact science than what we would have hoped, scientists have pinned down two things that they know to be factors in why some of us suffer from allergies and others don’t: genetics and the environment in which we live. Common Laredo allergens include tree, grass, and ragweed pollen, which are also among the most common allergens across the country that can cause allergic reactions and irritations. These pollen levels vary significantly throughout the year, which is why the late spring/early summer months can be particularly brutal, but pollen allergies are hardly noticeable in the fall/winter months.
Preventing and Managing Allergies
The easiest way to prevent allergy suffering is to avoid the things that trigger your reactions. Unfortunately, this could mean staying indoors during the most beautiful time of the year when the flowers and trees are blooming. Try to delegate chores like mowing the lawn and weed pulling that can kick up allergens and stay inside during exceptionally dry or windy days. If you want to go outside during days that have higher pollen counts, try counteracting the pollen with over-the-counter remedies. Oral antihistamines can relieve standard allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, and watery eyes, while decongestants and nasal sprays can help with stuffy noses. It’s also helpful to try and keep the air inside your house as pollen-free as possible by using the air conditioner and investing in a dehumidifier or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
When to See a Doctor
If your seasonal allergies are affecting you to the point where they are interfering with your life and are no longer manageable with over-the-counter medicine, it’s time to see the doctor. Symptoms like runny noses and congestion are typical, but when they progress into full-fledged breathing issues, call your primary care physician or make an appointment to see an allergist who can diagnose you and hopefully provide you with relief. Be sure to provide them with a list of symptoms and any medicine that you’re currently taking. Allergies can be problematic, but thankfully, suffering from them does not have to be a permanent state of affairs. If you’re currently suffering from seasonal pollen allergies, take the steps to improve your symptoms and your life today.
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