The longer daylight hours, recent rains, warmer temperatures, and windy days bring on high pollen counts as many of the local tress, grasses, and weeds fill the air. These small pollen particles are inhaled irritating the upper and lower respiratory tracts causing allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and in some cases allergy induced asthma. Symptoms may consist of itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion, itchy nose, sneezing, nasal drainage, post nasal drip, cough, chest tightness, and itchy skin. The first step of treatment is to identify the causes of these symptoms so that the most appropriate care plan can be initiated. This is done by seeing an allergist and having a skin test performed in order to identify positive triggers.
After the allergy triggers have been identified a plan consisting of environmental control measures, symptom management with medications, and immunotherapy (a holistic approach) used to desensitize the immune system can be discussed. Allergy symptoms cause less misery if you use a proactive approach and start a regimen weeks prior to high pollen counts. A few of the spring culprits are oak, birch, sycamore, cottonwood, mulberry, willow, elm, mesquite, pecan, privet, hackberry, as well as, grasses and molds. If you are experiencing any of these allergy symptoms see an allergist so symptoms do not become an annual occurrence.