Allergies increase in spring

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

The onset of seasonal allergies is common during this time of the year. A runny nose, itchy eyes and frequent cough are symptoms of allergic reactions to pollen and other substances in the air.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that allergies can begin in February and last into the summer.

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Jeff R. Buntin, a nurse practitioner at Highland Community Hospital said Mississippi residents can experience allergies in the spring and fall. As different flowers and trees release pollen into the air, people can experience a reaction when those substances are inhaled, he said.

Buntin said inhaling pollen is the most likely cause of rhinitis, where the body sees pollen as an allergen triggering the body’s immune system. In response, a person will become congested, start sneezing, notice eye irritation, and/or have a runny nose and sometimes a headache.

Certain weather conditions can increase the severity of an allergic reaction so it’s important to take precautions to minimize allergic reactions.

Pollen levels are at the highest early in the morning, and can increase during a rainfall event, the American College of AAI states. Tree, grass and ragweed pollen increases during cool nights and warm days, it states.

Christie Kellar, a nurse practitioner at Family First Healthcare, said that even though spring allergies are caused due to pollen inhalation, if a person notices that they tend to have allergies year round it could be from other substances in the air.

In that case, it’s best to identify the cause of the allergic response, Kellar said.

“Best way is to try and avoid any potential allergens,”Buntin said.

He suggests wearing a mask especially when doing yard work or mowing the grass.

Buntin said the best way to counteract allergies is consider taking antihistamine drugs that are available over the counter.

If symptoms are severe and persistent, over the counter intranasal steroids can also be used.

Kellar recommends vacuuming the home thoroughly, washing hands frequently and changing air filters in HVAC systems to minimize allergies.

“Anybody having an allergy that produces shortness of breath, facial swelling or hives need to seek medical attention immediately,” Buntin said.