Spring Ailments

Spring ailments refer to seasonal allergies that occur during the spring season. These ailments are caused primarily due to the presence of pollen in the environment and changes in the weather. The most common spring ailment is hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis. This condition can also affect some people throughout the year, in which case it is known as perennial rhinitis. Hay fever occurs when the immune system responds to irritants that enter the air passages. It is essentially an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as molds and pollen. The condition can affect both men and women equally and the symptoms may vary in severity. Hay fever may not be life threatening or debilitating, but it can certainly interfere with day to day activities. Hay fever can interfere with normal functioning due to the annoying symptoms it produces. Treatment for spring ailments is focused on learning how to avoid or limit exposure to potential allergens and taking appropriate steps to alleviate the symptoms.

Symptoms of Spring Ailments

The symptoms of spring ailments start as soon as there is exposure to an allergen. The most common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, headaches, watery eyes and itchiness in the nose, throat and eyes. There may also be discomfort and pressure in the sinus cavities which in turn could lead to facial pain. Some people also complain of a reduced sense of taste and smell. The area under the eyes may also become swollen and dark. In case of spring ailments, the symptoms may begin or get aggravated with the advent of the spring season. Those who are allergic to indoor irritants such as animal dander, dust mites and mold may experience symptoms throughout the year, depending on each individual’s sensitivity and the levels of exposure. Even those who suffer from perennial allergies may experience a worsening of symptoms during certain seasons. Hay fever can occur at any age, but in many cases it is known to develop during childhood or early adulthood. The severity of the allergic reactions may also vary over the years. Many people notice a diminishing of the symptoms over several years. The signs and symptoms of spring ailments may sometimes be confused with the common cold. In case of a common cold however, you would notice a thicker nasal discharge and fever.

It is important to consult a doctor when the symptoms are persistent and allergy medications do not seem to be providing relief. Medical attention is also recommended when there are other conditions such as sinusitis, asthma and nasal polyps that may worsen due to hay fever symptoms. Individuals who are considering immunotherapy as a treatment for hay fever should consult an allergy specialist.

Causes of Spring Ailments

Spring ailments occur when the immune system identifies a harmless substance as potentially harmful. This is known as sensitization. As a result the immune system produces antibodies and when there is exposure to an allergen, these antibodies identify the trigger and send a signal to the immune system to release certain chemicals into the blood stream. These chemicals cause a reaction that produces the signs and symptoms of hay fever. The most common triggers of spring ailments include grass pollen, weed pollen, tree pollen and spores released from fungi and molds. Irritants that usually cause perennial allergies include dust mites, dander from cats, dogs or birds, cockroaches and spores from indoor molds.

There are some factors that can elevate a person’s risk of developing hay fever. Studies have found that an individual is more likely to develop hay fever when there is a parent or sibling who also has the allergy. Infants who are exposed to cigarette smoke during the first year of life may also go on to develop spring ailments later on. People who work or live in areas where there is constant exposure to allergens are also at risk of developing the condition.

Remedies for Spring Ailments

The best way to treat spring ailments is to prevent exposure to allergens. This may not always be feasible and at times despite your best precautions you could still be exposed to allergens. In such scenarios there are certain treatments that can help in relieving the symptoms. For mild cases of hay fever, over-the-counter medications are quite effective in reducing symptoms. Those who experience persistent symptoms should consult a doctor. Some people experience improvement when they use a combination of treatments. The best treatment for allergies in children would be best left to the judgment of your doctor as there are many medications that for hay fever that are not approved for children. It is also important to read the labels carefully when administering treatment to a child. Nasal corticosteroids are the most common type of treatment for hay fever. They are available in the form of sprays that help to alleviate nasal discharge, itching and inflammation. They can be used safely for long periods of time; however there may be side effects such as unpleasant taste or irritation in the nose. The chemicals that are released by the immune system during an allergic reaction include histamines. Therefore a common treatment for allergies is antihistamines. These may be taken in the form of pills, drops or sprays. Some types of antihistamines can lead to drowsiness. Most people obtain relief from itchiness in the eyes, runny nose, congestion and sneezing after using antihistamines. Decongestant tablets, sprays and liquids are also sometimes used to treat hay fever. However oral decongestants can lead to several side effects such as headaches, insomnia and increased blood pressure. Prolonged usage of these medications is strongly advised against because of the risk of a worsening of the symptoms as they become unresponsive to the drugs.

Individuals who do not experience improvement with medications may opt for other treatments such as immunotherapy. This involves receiving allergy shots over a period of 3 to 5 years. A tiny dose of allergens is administered with each injection. The aim is to make the body accustomed to the allergens. This helps to reduce an individual’s need for allergy medications. Immunotherapy is known to be effective in people who are allergic to dust, pollen and animal dander. This treatment also helps to reduce the risk of asthma in children.

There are also some natural ways to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. One of the most popular ways to ease inflammation and irritation is to rinse the nasal passage with a saline solution. This is a quick and easy way to alleviate congestion as it flushes out the allergens from the nose. You may use a neti pot or a squeeze bottle and you can prepare the saline solution at home by combining ¼ teaspoon of salt with two cups of water. Sipping on warm herbal teas such as peppermint or chamomile is also known to be beneficial in treating spring ailments, especially those related to the respiratory system. Ginger is a beneficial home remedy for hay fever as well. You can boil a piece of ginger in water and then add some honey and lime juice to it. Drink this daily for relief from nasal discomfort. A hot decoction made from Bayberry is helpful in boosting the body’s resistance to infections. Many people also recommend the use of nettle extracts in treating hay fever. Steam inhalation is greatly helpful in soothing inflamed nasal passages. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil to the hot water. Drape a towel around your head and inhale the vapors that rise from the water. This may be done whenever you experience nasal congestion or discomfort in the sinus cavities. Essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus may also be used in a vaporizer. Warm compresses also help to reduce swelling and pressure in the nose and facial area.

Other than these natural remedies, it is also necessary to prevent exposure to allergens by staying indoors when the pollen count is high. When you need to go outdoors, you can place a handkerchief on the nose and mouth. Pollen and mold spores can remain on your clothes and hence it is advisable to shower and change as soon as you come home. You can also use an air purifier in the house to keep the indoor environment free of allergens.

Those who suffer from hay fever should make sure that they take their allergy medications before there is exposure to allergens. If you feel you may face exposure to indoor or outdoor irritants, it is best to start taking the medication even before any of the signs or symptoms start appearing.

Diet for Spring Ailments

It is important to ensure that the diet consists of plenty of vitamins and minerals. Foods rich in vitamins B and C should be especially incorporated in the diet. Vitamin B helps to encourage cell growth and reducing inflammation caused by allergies. Vitamin C is essential for strengthening the immune system. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and hence is beneficial in helping the body fight against various infections and ailments.

Suggestion for Spring Ailments

Parents should ensure that there are no fluffy toys or furry animals around the house as these can aggravate allergic symptoms in children. The bedding of the child should also be kept clean and must be dusted regularly. It is advisable to avoid using woolen under-lays as these tend to harbor dust mites.

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