By Dr. Barry Zeffren
It is that time of year again: birds are chirping, skies are bluer. The days are getting longer, and the grass is going from the brown and yellow of dormancy to the vibrant green that warmer weather promises. Leaves are emerging on the branches of the trees, and the Westerly Winds blow out the frigid cold air and swoop in with the warm winds and the promise of summer. We daydream about our emergence from our winter cocoons, and make mental checklists of the warm weather activities soon to come:from planning our summer gardens to our impending invitations to Mother’s Day brunches and barbecues. Of course, with all the planning for the beginning of spring, there comes the inevitable spring allergy season.
Because pollen is the most common allergen, cases of hay fever rise dramatically in the spring. Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from spring seasonal allergies, and this number is on the rise. Children with parents who suffer from seasonal allergies are over 30% more likely to also develop allergies. And while many of these people who suffer from allergies think they can alleviate the effects allergies have on their lives by sequestering themselves indoors during the spring months, the fact is that indoor air is often 50 times more polluted than outdoor air. For this reason, many allergy sufferers feel they can never escape the misery they are wrought with when it comes to spring allergies.
So what causes allergies? It is an autoimmune response in which the body recognizes an otherwise harmless substance as harmful to the body. The results are the symptoms of seasonal allergies. These symptoms can be anywhere from mildly irritating to a debilitating condition which renders sufferers completely at the mercy of the pollen counts. These symptoms can include itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, cough, skin rashes, and in severe cases can result in constricted airways and asthmatic symptoms. For some, the symptoms of seasonal allergies appear as severe skin allergies. Large, scaly, patchy plaques can appear in some skin allergy sufferers. Other skin allergies are prickly rashes which can cause extreme itching, redness, and discomfort.
Treatments for spring allergies and asthma can vary greatly. For mild cases of seasonal allergies, an antihisthamine prior to exposure to allergens can be helpful. Unfortunately, these types of medications can also cause drowsiness, even after regular and prolonged usage. There are a lot of over the counter medications which offer users 24 hour allergy relief. These work by actually blocking histamines (allergy-causing irritants). The medication binds to the histamines in the body, which then block the allergic reaction such as sneezing, itching, or coughing. For severe allergy sufferers, there are also more intense treatment options. Some patients require regular allergy shots during the spring allergy season simply to be able to get out of bed each day. Others require daily inhalers and prescription strength medications in order to get their symptoms under control and more manageable. There are also natural allergy remedies which many users find to be very effective. Yamoa powder has been touted by many users to be a complete cure for allergies and asthma, with most users being completely relieved of allergy symptoms after just four weeks of use.
For those who suffer from skin allergies during spring allergy season, hydrocortisone creams can be extremely helpful. These types of creams are a corticosteroid preparation which helps to reduce swelling and irritation, as well as relieve itching and redness. For severe cases of skin allergies, which can often result in eczema, more powerful topical steroid creams may be required. These are usually available by prescription, and can be fairly inexpensive. For those who are interested in an all-natural treatment for skin allergies, magnesium oil can be particularly helpful. There are ways to prepare magnesium oils at home, or pre-mixed solutions can be purchased at many different retailers. The magnesium oil is misted directly onto the skin, and has been shown to be highly effective at relieving the symptoms of skin allergies, eczema, and psoriasis.
Spring is almost here. Blue skies and green grass hold the promise of warmer, long, sunny days and sultry evenings. Unfortunately for many allergy sufferers, spring is also the beginning of months of miserable allergy symptoms. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, there are a lot of different ways to treat the cause and the symptoms to make allergy season a lot less miserable.
– This article was written by Dr. Barry Zeffren who is an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Care Clinic in Granite City IL. To find out more about Dr. Zeffren or the Allergy and Asthma Car Clinic go to www.metroeastallergist.com.