Hay fever and allergies are nothing to sneeze at! And if you stop and listen, you may be able to hear a chorus of sneezes in your community!
During the spring and summer months allergy season is in full swing. There is no doubt that allergies can leave the most stoic person helpless and miserable. Rest assured, knowledge is the best weapon for controlling allergies.
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies. Their symptoms include:
- A stuffed up nose
- Watery and runny eyes
- Violent sneezing fits
- Head congestion and ringing in the ears
- Itchy roof of the mouth
Millions of Canadians Miss School or Work
The Allergy/Asthma Information Association (AAIA) indicates there are approximately 25 percent or 7.5 millions Canadians who suffer from rhinitis and hay fever. They also indicate allergies are a major reason why so many Canadians miss school or work.
The latest research into the nature and mechanics of the allergy immune response has accomplished a better understanding of how the body responds to allergens and improvements in treatment. However, there is no known “cure”.
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is a state of abnormal sensitivity to a substance or substances that ordinarily cause little or no irritation to people without this sensitivity.
It is the immune system reacting, or overreacting, to a substance that ‘it thinks’ is the ‘enemy’, like it does when it fights a germ.
Basically, your immune system releases histamine and other substances to attack a substance known as the allergen by increasing inflammation to the area and increasing mucous production. This is the reason for the stuffed up and runny nose.
Almost anything we touch, swallow or inhale may cause an allergic response. These substances are referred to as allergens.
Knowledge is Your Best Allergy Fighting Tool
There are a number of things you can do if you suffer from allergies. Knowing what you are allergic to is important. Avoid the known allergen. For many people, this is not easy or sometimes impossible. However, every attempt to reduce your exposure to allergens is helpful. You can start by ensuring your home and work environment is relatively allergen free.
Experts also recommend the humidity be kept down to 35 percent. If you use air conditioning, close vents when in use so you don’t suck in pollen from outside.
If you are allergic to pollens and such, experts strongly recommend you should avoid going outdoors during peak time of high pollen concentrations. They further suggest a hot, dry, and windy day is when pollen is at its worst.
How do You Spell Relief from Allergy Symptoms?
Good question! There are over-the-counter medications you can try. However, it is important that you discuss this with your healthcare practitioner and pharmacist, especially if you are taking other medications or suffer from other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, thyroid conditions and other such diseases and ailments.
You can also try homeopathic remedies, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and other natural remedies . For the best results, it is advisable to consult trained experts in these healing methods.
The following are some of the most common allergens in Canada, as supplied by the Allergy/Asthma Information Association.
- Inhaled: Ragweed, grass, and tree pollen; dust mites; mould spores; animal dander; feathers; cosmetics; tobacco smoke; pesticides; industrial and chemical fumes; wood smoke.
- Ingested: Milk; wheat; eggs; corn; fish; shell fish; peanuts; medications.
- Injected: antibiotics; venom from insects; hormones; insulin.
- Contact:Latex; dyes; fabrics; medications; pesticides; plants; cosmetics; resins.
- Other: Viruses; heat; cold.