As the days get longer and warmer, many of us are looking forward to spending time outdoors in the sunshine. Unfortunately, for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring can bring on red, itchy eyes that make every day a challenge. But why does this happen? And what can we do to prevent it? Let’s take a look at what causes seasonal allergies and how we can tackle them head-on.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. The body reacts to these allergens by releasing histamines into the bloodstream which cause inflammation and other allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy skin or eyes, runny nose, and congestion.
The best way to avoid seasonal allergies is to limit your exposure to the allergens that trigger your body’s reaction. Some tips for reducing your risk include staying indoors when pollen counts are high (typically between 5 am and 10 am), wearing sunglasses outside if possible (to keep pollen out of your eyes), using air conditioning when possible (to filter out allergens), and taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or Claritin before going outdoors (to reduce inflammation).
For those who still experience severe symptoms despite their best efforts at prevention, there are several treatments available. Over-the-counter eye drops such as Visine or Murine can help reduce redness and itching caused by allergies; prescription medications such as Pataday or Zaditor can provide more relief; and steroid nasal sprays like Flonase or Nasonex may be prescribed if symptoms persist despite other treatments.
For many of us, springtime brings on a torrent of pesky allergy symptoms that seem impossible to ignore—but with the right strategies in place, you can enjoy the season without letting them ruin your fun. By understanding what causes seasonal allergies and taking steps to limit our exposure when possible (such as limiting outdoor activity during peak pollen times) we can reduce our risk for developing allergic reactions throughout the season. And for those times when our symptoms still flare up despite our best efforts at prevention, there are plenty of treatment options available so that we don’t have to suffer in silence! So this spring season, don’t let allergies get you down—take steps today towards enjoying life outdoors!