Yes siree! Eighty degrees and sunny! Finally, after our long gray winter, spring is in full splendor all around. Azaleas are trumpeting their hot pink snazziness; daffodils hold forth like a perky yellow high-five; people and bees, and yes gnats, are out in full force.
And so is the pollen.
Spring, with all its welcome cheerfulness, can be a season of misery for allergy sufferers. Allergic rhinitis, otherwise known as Hay Fever, is the most common form of allergic reaction, according to Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich, an allergist/immunologist affiliated with Roper St. Francis. So why is pollen such a problem?
All that sneezing and watery, itchy eyes is your body’s way of trying to get rid of something it deems harmful. In the case of pollen, all that histamine release is more of an immune system overreaction, because pollen (unlike a virus or bacteria) won’t really hurt you. But try telling that to someone who’s suffering. If it’s any consolation, you’re in good company. Some 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, so there’s a good chance someone nearby can share their Kleenex.
Over the counter allergy medications are the first line of defense, but you may need more relief. If so, ask your primary care doctor about seeing an allergist, or call 402-CARE.
Wondering if all that sneezing and runny nose is really a cold, not allergies? Dr. Bruce Ball offers some tips in this House Calls TV.