NORWALK, Conn. -- Tis’ the season to be … sneezing, wheezing and coughing, if you have allergies. With warm weather descending on the Northeast, also comes the spring's scourge: allergies.
More than 58 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. In spring, trees, grass and other plants begin to germinate by sending pollen into the air. These microscopic particles help plants rebound after a long, hard winter but can have a brutal effect on the human immune system.
Symptoms are familiar to most everyone: sneezing, coughs, sniffles, red eyes and black circles often accompany those who suffer from seasonal allergies and make spring an unbearable time.
“The worst allergy-sufferers previously had to endure subcutaneous injections (“allergy shots”) by an allergist, but now, self-administered sublingual drops (given as drops under the tongue) and tablets are available for common allergies.” -- Dr. Mark Wasserman, AFC Doctors Express of Norwalk
Fortunately, there are solutions. Many over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants reduce inflammation in the nose and throat, and can address runny noses. People often have unique allergic conditions, so it can be helpful to speak with a doctor about what triggers your allergies, and to develop a plan; and then to take the recommended medicine before you begin to experience symptoms.
According to Dr. Mark Wasserman at AFC Doctors Express in Norwalk, “The worst allergy-sufferers previously had to endure subcutaneous injections (“allergy shots”) by an allergist, but now, self-administered sublingual drops (given as drops under the tongue) and tablets are available for common allergies.”
Allergy sufferers who disdain medicine can take precautions to avoid pollens. They include:
- Being aware of the pollen count. Levels are at their highest on windy, dry and sunny days.
- Exercise. A high pollen count does not mean you have to skip your workout. Consider working-out inside.
- Sunglasses can keep your eyes from coming into contact with airborne pollen.
Also, be aware of the weather. Allergens tend to accumulate in the mornings or during periods of little rain. Heavy rains often bring relief as pollen is washed off cars and sidewalks.
Doctors also caution against opening windows and doors during peak pollen season; doing so invites the irritants right into the home. If you do go outside, a quick shower afterwards will rinse pollen off your hair, and help you sleep better at night.