After the colder winter months, spring is the season when the natural world awakens and re-energises. The word ‘spring’ usually symbolises new beginnings and a fresh new start. But these new beginnings might not be just the cup of tea for some people.
Unfortunately for people who suffer from allergies, having watery eyes, a runny nose, sore throat, continuous sneezing, and a bunch of other symptoms is usual. But fortunately for them, online health experts at Click Pharmacy are available in all seasons.
Some might think that all these symptoms will lead to having caught a cold when, in reality, they are dealing with something completely different.
The ‘something’ in question here is often referred to as pollen which is released by plants.
Pollen, the real culprit
Pollen is practically imperceptible to the naked eye, and for the most part, it levitates in the air. The tiny particles can give rise to some serious health complications. A human being can inhale or come in contact with these tiny particles and thus have an allergic reaction. That’s where the immune system comes in. The immune system develops antibodies in order to fight against the pollen, and while doing so, those antibodies tell the cells to release certain substances. These substances go by the name of histamines. Upon being stimulated by certain allergens, histamines get released from the cells and cause inflammation in multiple body parts. Consequently, the substances give rise to itching, watery eyes, a runny nose, etc.
Pollen comes in all shapes and sizes, which may include:
- Dock pollen
- Ragweed pollen
- Plantain pollen
- Nettle pollen
- Mugwort pollen
- Ash pollen
- Willow pollen
- Yew pollen
- Oak pollen
- Pine pollen
- Birch pollen
- Lime pollen
- Hazel pollen
- Plane pollen
- Alder pollen
- Elm pollen
- Poplar pollen
- Hornbeam pollen
- Cypress pollen
- Cottonwood pollen
- Mulberry pollen
- Sycamore pollen
- Sweet vernal
Other types of allergens
Despite the fact that mainly pollen causes spring allergies to occur when inhaled all season long, there are other substances that can trigger these allergies as well. One of them being mould. Springtime rains cause mould growth, and these moulds may be found both indoors and outdoors. Our body produces allergy-inducing antibodies upon inhaling the tiny mould particles in the air in order to combat them. This exposure can consequently result in an immediate allergic reaction or a delayed allergy reaction. House dust mites also significantly contribute to causing allergies. They flourish in humid or warm environments such as bedding, furniture, carpets, etc.
Spring allergies are also referred to as hay fever. Approximately around 49% of the population of the UK is allegedly reported to be suffering from hay fever. Seasonal allergies (hay fever) are characterised by a variety of symptoms that vary from person to person. The symptoms that appear in such conditions may include:
- A runny or congested nose
- Watery/ irritated eyes
- The swollen skin under the eyes
- Constantly feeling tired
- Itchy throat
- Ear congestion and itchy ear canals
- Presence of excess mucus in the back of the nose or throat
- Itching on the affected area as if it were a mosquito bite
Visit the doctor
Something that you should do when putting up with such symptoms is to visit your healthcare provider. The doctor will take a look at your symptoms, make observations, analyse the real reason for your current symptoms, and prescribe ways to either eliminate them if possible or avoid them. If the symptoms keep re-surfacing and persisting, you should see an allergist.
An allergist is a professional physician who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of allergies and other immunological disorders.
The treatment can include a variety of tests conducted by the allergist. It may be a skin test or a blood test.
There are multiple methods of conducting a skin test, some of which are discussed below
- Patch test. Your doctor may apply an allergen onto a patch, which you can then wear on your arm or back. These materials will stay in place for at least 48 hours, giving the allergens plenty of opportunities to cause responses.
- Skin injection test. The allergist can inject just into the skin on your arm (not too deep) with potential allergens after cleaning the skin with alcohol. The results can be observed after 15 minutes.
- Prick test. The allergist, after cleaning the skin with alcohol, will mark certain spots on the skin with a marker or pen. After this, they will apply the possible allergens to the marked areas and introduce the allergen to the skin by scratching the outer layer.
- Medicinal treatment. A wide range of medications is available for the treatment of such allergies.
- Antihistamines. Antihistamines can aid in reversing the effects of histamines. In addition, they provide relief from the itching, sneezing, soreness in the throat, watery eyes, coughing, nasal congestion, etc.
- Nasal sprays. Nasal sprays help minimise the inflammation caused by the histamines in the body. They provide relief from nasal congestion, sneezing, and other similar symptoms and work faster than decongestants.
- Decongestants. They aid in reducing oedema/inflammation in the nasal airways, which relieves pressure and increases airflow.
- Rinsing of sinuses. Rinsing removes mucus and allergies directly from your nose and is affordable and easy to use as well.
Some people call it ‘spring time’ while others call it ‘allergy season’. It is tough out there at times like this for the latter group of people. But identifying the correct allergens for your allergies and either taking medicine for it or avoiding it at all costs can make your spring a little more ‘bloomy’ instead of it being all ‘gloomy’.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.