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As we head into the spring months, the weather finally warms up and you get to enjoy more time outdoors, soaking up the sun. However, there is a downside to spring and the burst of life in plants that accompanies it which many people are susceptible to, and that is seasonal allergies.

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are a very common condition, but what sets off these allergies varies by geographic location and time of year.

Allergies, in general, occur when your body overreacts to some type of allergen. The most common allergens are pollens from wind-pollinated plants, such as grasses, trees, and weeds. Different plants emit pollen at different times, so what allergen you are allergic to will dictate when you experience seasonal allergies.

While spring is most commonly considered allergy season, where you live and what your allergy triggers are may mean that you experience allergies in other seasons as well.

For those whose seasonal allergies are at their worst in spring, you can primarily blame trees for this. Summertime seasonal allergies are mostly due to grasses and some weeds. As for fall, ragweed season is at its peak. Winter is typically a season of relief for individuals with seasonal allergies before the cycle begins again the following spring.

Symptoms

Symptoms of seasonal allergies can vary, and not everyone exhibits the same symptoms. The severity of your symptoms can also vary significantly based on how severe your reaction is.

Some symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • sneezing
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • ear congestion
  • itchy throat, sinuses, or ear canals
  • postnasal drainage
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • coughing
  • wheezing

Common Causes of Seasonal Allergies

The following actions can play a role in the appearance and severity of seasonal allergies.

Opening Your Windows

There’s nothing better than opening the windows on the first nice day to let in the spring breeze, clearing out the stuffiness in the house that has accumulated while closed up for the winter. However, as pleasant as that fresh air may be, it may be loaded with allergens that then set off your allergies.

If your allergies are acting up, avoid opening the windows and instead use an A/C unit or fan to keep your house cool.

Your Pets

Unfortunately, pets might have pollen and other allergens stuck in their fur from when they were outside, which can then set off your allergies when petting them. During allergy season, be sure to give your pets regular baths to help remove any accumulated allergens.

Spring Cleaning

Do you ever find yourself sneezing or rubbing your eyes a little extra after doing some spring cleaning? While it’s good to do a deep clean of the house, it can also kick up the dirt and dust that has accumulated during the winter, which can then set off your allergies.

Preventing Seasonal Allergies

Avoidance

It’s safe to say that the best way to prevent seasonal allergies is the same as treating any other allergy – avoidance. Despite this, it’s not always possible to entirely avoid whatever allergen is causing your allergies to flare up, especially if you have a job outside and have to spend hours at risk of exposure each workday.

So, while you might not be able to avoid these allergens altogether, you can make conscious choices to limit your exposure, such as remaining indoors unless you have to go outside and investing in an air purifier. You should also check the pollen counts and try to remain inside when they are especially high.

It’s also helpful to keep your windows shut when pollen counts are high, despite how refreshing that spring breeze may be.

Take a Shower

If you’ve been outside, take a shower when you get home to wash off the allergens from your skin and hair. Also, put on a fresh pair of clothes to limit extended exposure to allergens.

Seasonal Allergy Treatments

There are many common ingredients that provide immense benefits for those suffering from seasonal allergies.
Ginger

Ginger is one of those ingredients that has wide-reaching benefits. This is all because ginger possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties, which makes ginger beneficial for the many conditions with inflammation as a key component, allergies included.

Allergies occur because the immune system gets put into overdrive due to an allergen, and inflammation is one action of the immune system used to remove the allergen from the body. Inflammation results in swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and eyes which manifests as the allergy symptoms of nasal congestion, throat swelling, and red, swollen eyes.

Using ginger helps to minimize the actions of the inflammatory process, which means that the immune system’s actions will not be as dramatic, resulting in reduced symptoms.

Local Honey

Honey created locally can help reduce allergy symptoms, and this is because local honey may be imbued with pollen and other allergens that are native to the area you live in. When you consume local honey regularly, you introduce small amounts of the allergens to your body. This can help your body build up a resistance to the allergens, limiting the body’s allergic reaction when coming into contact with them.

Not only that, but honey itself, not just local honey, also offers many benefits for those with allergies. Specifically, honey has anti-inflammatory properties, and can also be soothing for a sore throat.

Turmeric

Turmeric is another spice with anti-inflammatory properties, making it appealing for treating allergy symptoms. Turmeric has the active ingredient cumin, which is what minimizes the symptoms of many inflammatory diseases, allergies included. Because of this, turmeric can help reduce any irritation and swelling that results from allergies.

Getting Through Allergy Season

Seasonal allergies are unpleasant, but being aware of what actions to avoid and limit can help reduce your symptoms. In cases where you cannot avoid exposure to allergens, certain natural ingredients added to your daily routine can provide protection and relief from allergy symptoms as you make your way through allergy season.

References

Ahui, M., Champy, P., Ramadan, A., Pham Van, L., Araujo, L., & Brou André, K. et al. (2008). Ginger prevents Th2-mediated immune responses in a mouse model of airway inflammation. International Immunopharmacology, 8(12), 1626-1632. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2008.07.009
Çifci, A., Tayman, C., Yakut, H. İ., Halil, H., Çakır, E., Çakır, U., & Aydemir, S. (2018). Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ) prevents severe damage to the lungs due to hyperoxia and inflammation. Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, 48(4), 892–900. https://doi.org/10.3906/sag-1803-223
Bagad, A., Joseph, J., Bhaskaran, N., & Agarwal, A. (2013). Comparative Evaluation of Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcuminoids, Turmerones, and Aqueous Extract of Curcuma longa. Advances In Pharmacological Sciences, 2013, 1-7. doi: 10.1155/2013/805756
Gldman R. D. (2014). Honey for treatment of cough in children. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 60(12), 1107–1110.
Cianciosi, D., Forbes-Hernández, T., Afrin, S., Gasparrini, M., Reboredo-Rodriguez, P., & Manna, P. et al. (2018). Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules, 23(9), 2322. doi: 10.3390/molecules23092322
Seasonal Allergies – ACAAI Public Website. (2022). Retrieved 28 February 2022, from https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/
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