Springtime: Flowers, Sunshine, and Misery

Itchy eyes, runny noses, and constant coughing/sneezing. Sound familiar? Spring allergies are calling. This year, mild winter temperatures are causing plants to pollinate at a fast pace. Spring allergies begin in mid-February and last until early fall. The rainy weather leads to rapid plant growth and an increase in mold growth. Pollen triggers an allergic reaction called allergic rhinitis.

According to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, about 35 million Americans suffer from upper respiratory symptoms linked to pollen. Climate changes are responsible for aggressive seasonal allergies throughout the United States.

The main causes of spring allergies are grass, pollen, and mold. With cool night and warm days, pollen counts increase sufficiently. Unfortunately, ragweeds grow all over the east coast and release pollen during spring months. Most victims do not know the trigger of their spring allergies and, constantly suffer with symptoms year-round. Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York says, “In general over the last ten years or more, we’ve seen an earlier start to the spring allergy season by about two weeks,” and, “Each year is different. You’re mostly seeing a longer season spring through fall because of warmer temperatures.”

Ways to prevent symptoms are keeping car and house windows closed during the afternoon or middays, showering and changing after being outdoors, and lastly, monitoring pollen counts. Medications and immunotherapy can be received by allergists, in order to reduce symptoms. The National Institute of Health Medline Plus recommends saving outdoor activities for days following rainfall.

Wind, dry conditions, rain, and temperatures equally affect pollen distribution. Although allergy season is around the corner, careful measures and steps can be taken to decrease symptoms. With treatments, springtime can be enjoyed with days out in the bright sun.