Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring Allergies

spring allergies

Now that the worst of winter appears to be behind most of North America, people can begin to look forward to the beauty and renewal that is spring.  The flowers, the new leaves on the trees, the fresh grass…the hives, the sneezing, the watering eyes.  Spring allergies are about to explode once again and those who struggle with them are sure to be heading to their local pharmacy to ensure they are stocked up on antihistamines.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some 36 million Americans struggle with allergies on a yearly basis, and the current temperature variations that have been experienced all winter are going to be tough on those with allergies in particular.  Dr. Mark Schecker of Coastal Carolina Allergy and Asthma notes that once the trees pollinate, the grass will not be far behind, and soon after that, havoc will be wrought across most of those with environmental allergies.

Those with pollen allergies will certainly struggle in the coming weeks as Mother Nature officially gives Old Man Winter an eviction notice.  It will then be “goodbye Winter, hello spring allergies” for many people.  Pollen can get stirred up fairly easily both inside and outside, thanks to fans and breezes.  As a way of filtering the air in the home, it is recommended that homeowners with allergies make an investment in cheesecloth to help filter out pollens and other fine particulate matter between the inside and outside environments.  Cheesecloth can be placed over filters and that can go a long way towards giving those with allergies some peace of mind.

In addition, as pollen continues to float through the air in increasing amounts, homeowners are also encouraged to make greater use of their air conditioners rather than opening a window, as this will also help control the pollen levels in the house.  Humidity should be kept at 50 percent or less in order to discourage mold growth in the home; mold can be a problem particularly throughout the transition from one season to the next.  The heat of the home and the cold weather of winter can interact in your windows, particularly if you have put plastic over the windows as a way of preventing heat loss from the home.  The ensuing moisture can cause mold to sprout in the narrow grooves that windows feature, and when it comes time for you to remove the plastic from your windows, you can experience further issues as you try to eliminate the mold from these spots.

There are several cleansers on the market that can help in fighting and preventing mold from developing; in fact, many hardware stores carry them and this can help those with mold allergies find some relief.  It is also important to realize that while people cannot live life in a bubble, there are ways of helping alleviate some of the discomfort that allergies can cause.

Some allergies can be quite serious as winter turns to spring.  Certainly, ragweed allergies can spark asthmatic reactions in some individuals, leading to impaired airways.  There are, however, some preventive actions that people can take, particularly if they love the outdoors.  Avoidance of outdoor activities from 5 to 10 a.m. when pollen can be at its worst is one fairly easy step.  Postponing some activities until after a rainfall also helps dampen the chance of pollen floating around in high volumes.  The bottom line is, while pollen in particular can be a serious environmental concern for those with allergies, it is now time to say goodbye to winter; spring allergy season has begun.

By Christina St-Jean



National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences



One Response to "Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring Allergies"

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