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Simply Scientific: Seasonal Allergies

by Camila Caridad Rivas March 17, 2020
Simply Scientific: Seasonal Allergies

As winter nears its end and spring is right around the corner, it’s the season of runny noses, sneezing and watery eyes for many people.

Whether it’s oak, grass or birch pollen that triggers an allergy, we can all agree they’re a pain. But how does an allergy come to be, and what can be done to treat such a reaction?

According to Heathline, an allergy, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, is when the immune system overreacts to a foreign substance it sees as harmful. As a response, the immune system produces histamine, a chemical whose role is getting rid of the allergen that happens to be the cause of unpleasant symptoms.

These allergies are more heightened in spring than in any other season due to the fact that trees begin to pollinate. Examples of outdoor allergens include, but are not limited to, cedar, alder, horse chestnut, willow and poplar.

The common symptoms of seasonal allergies include a runny nose, watery eyes, itchy throat, ear congestion and an overproduction of mucus, while the rarer symptoms are coughing, wheezing, headache and shortness of breath.

Regarding treatment for seasonal allergies, there are a few ways to go about it with medication. Over-the-counter medications such as Zytec, Tylenol, Benadryl, Pfizer and nasal steroid sprays can relieve and lighten the burden of allergies. However, these types of medicine can cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and confusion.

In very severe cases of allergies, allergy shots may be recommended by a doctor. If medicine isn’t your cup of tea, there are alternative treatment methods like the consumption of vitamin C or Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacteria found in yogurt.

Don’t let allergies stop you from enjoying spring and summer after such a long time in wintry darkness!

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

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