This post is part of a series that focuses on children's and women's health, as part of a sponsored partnership with Aurora Health Care.
Does this picture of a beautiful open field bring you joy? Or does it make you feel like you're about to have a horrible sneezing fit?
It's happening people.
Noses are itching. Eyes are watering. Sneezes are being sneezed.
It's one of the cruel jokes of living in Wisconsin. Just as the weather starts to get nicer, and you start opening your windows to finally breathe in fresh air... BAM. Allergies strike.
It's my mission to let families know about fun things happening around Milwaukee, but you can't enjoy all the outdoor fun if you're miserable with allergies.
To minimize the effect that allergies have on you and your kids, I've compiled this list of 10 things you should know about spring allergies. (Thanks to my partners at Aurora for providing some great info.)
1. Some allergens are year round.
If you or your child is suffering from allergy symptoms outside of allergy season, it may be a year-round culprit such as dogs, cats, or dust mites. Head to an allergist to know for sure.
2. Different seasons trigger different allergies.
Spring allergies are caused by tree pollen, summer allergies are caused by grass pollen, and fall allergies are caused by weeds pollen. Outdoor molds can also cause allergies spring through fall.
Darn pollen. (Also, pollen is one of those words where if you say it enough or look at it too much it starts to look really strange.)
To figure out what you're allergic, so you know what to avoid, you can see a local allergist.
3. Pollen levels vary depending on weather.
Depending on the weather, allergies can get better or worse. A mild winter can lead to an early allergy season, since trees start pollinating earlier. Dry, windy weather spreads pollen quickly, making allergy symptoms worse.
Rain is a mixed bag. It can reduce the pollen count by washing pollen from the air, providing relief for allergy sufferers. However, rain in late fall or winter can increase tree pollination amounts, causing higher pollen levels. Also, more rain in spring makes grass grow faster, producing more pollen.
4. Allergies present a little differently than colds.
Cold season and allergy season overlap, so it can be difficult to figure out what's what. Here are some things to consider:
-Allergy symptoms ramp up quickly, as opposed to a cold which gradually builds.
-Allergy symptoms include nasal itching, eye irritation, drainage, congestion and sneezing.
-Allergies don't include cold symptoms such as fevers, chills and muscle aches.
-Allergy symptoms stick around until pollen is cleared, whereas colds will go away within a couple of weeks.
5. Allergies are diagnosed more commonly in kids, but can still start as an adult.
That's right. You're not in the clear yet! If you think you have a cold that just won’t quit, see #4.
6. Allergies can trigger asthma.
If you or your child has even mild asthma, allergy symptoms can make them worse. An allergist can help control symptoms and treat asthma so you don't have any scares this season.
7. Controlling your environment can help.
Of course you want to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather, but when you get home be sure to:
-close the windows
-use the air conditioner if you have it
-be sure to clean the furnace filters
8. Antihistamines are your first line of defense.
Over the counter antihistamines can help for mild symptoms like itching and sneezing. You can choose from Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec and Xyzal. Check with your pediatrician to see which medications are best for your child, and when to take them.
9. Nasal spray and nasal steroids are your next line of defense.
Nasacort, Rhinocort and Flonase are over-the-counter options that you do not need a prescription for. You have to use them regularly for them to be effective. Check with your pediatrician to see which medications are best for your child, and when to take them.
10. Allergy shots are your last line of defense.
An allergist can help you identify your allergies and decide on the best treatment method. If allergies are really bad, they can administer allergy shots to address the entire problem.
Do you have allergies? Have they been better or worse this year? What do you do to relieve your symptoms?
Drop a comment below!