Archive for April, 2016

Early Spring Brings Early Allergy Season

Posted by on April 27th, 2016

honey-bee-flower For allergy sufferers, allergy season has started early. You can blame warm spring temperatures for opening up flowers and releasing pollen, seven weeks early. Sneezing, runny nose, and red eyes are just some of the symptoms you may experience, if you suffer from allergies. In any average spring, there’s a fairly typical pattern to how different tree species release the pollen that they produced during the previous year’s summer and fall (winter has much less impact on pollen season). Some tree species – Alder, Cedars, Maples and Poplar – pollinate earlier in spring, while other species – Ash, Birch, Oak and Pines – pollinate later in the season. How the weather behaves in spring can have a significant impact on this schedule, though.

Regardless of similarities in weather and general trends in pollen counts, pollen seasons can still be very different from one another. The amount of pollen a tree species produces is dependent on the weather they experienced during the previous year’s summer and fall. If the weather was favourable, they may have a large supply of pollen to release when they finally get their chance in spring, and if it was unfavourable, there will be less pollen to release, no matter how the spring plays out.

For those who put up with seasonal allergies each year, it’s important to have an idea of what you may reacting to. Some species of tree, such as Alder, Birch and Oak, tend to cause allergic reactions more than species like Maples and Poplar. Also, while one species of tree may be putting out a very large amount of pollen, others may be releasing far less. Watching the pollen forecasts from day to day and comparing them to how you feel could help identify which species you react to most. A visit to your doctor, to be specifically tested for allergies, would make it far more clear.

Also, although trees are the main seasonal allergy in spring, there are other sources of seasonal allergies throughout the year. Grass pollen is typically what’s responsible for allergic reactions during June and July, after the trees are usually done. Mould spores and fungal spores cause reactions as well, although they do not receive as much attention as pollen when considering seasonal allergies.

Treatment

The primary aim of treatment for seasonal allergy is to reduce the symptoms so that the patient can continue participating in daily activities as normal.

A corticosteroid nasal spray is very effective to relieve nasal symptoms and is usually recommended as a first-line option. this kind of spray reduces swelling and mucus in the nasal passageway. It also relieves bothersome nasal symptoms. The sprays work well for treating congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching, or swelling of the nasal passageway.

Flonase Allergy Relief (fluticasone propionate) is a corticosteroid nasal sprays is available over the counter.

Antihistamine medications for oral administration or in a nasal spray can also be used to manage nasal symptoms, in addition to corticosteroid spray or alone. Some patients may notice anticholinergic side effect with antihistamine medications, such as sleepiness, dry mouth or blurred vision.

Examples of antihistamines that are available over the counter:
Allegra (fexofenadine)
Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Claritin (loratadine)
Tavist (clemastine)
Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)
Zyrtec (certirizine)

Other medications that are sometimes used in the treatment of seasonal allergy include cromolyn, azelastine and montelukast.