by: Crystal Welch, HHQI RN Project Coordinator
As the temperatures warm and we make our way out of the winter months, we begin the journey into spring, the beautiful blossoms of springtime along with the accompaniment of seasonal allergies. Birds are chirping in the trees but those trees produce pollen which can trigger seasonal allergic rhinitis or what is commonly known as hay fever. Sleep disruption, sinus infection, and a decrease in normal activities can result from nasal allergies or hay fever. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), if you sneeze and cough, or your nose and eyes itch and are runny during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies and grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers.
The ACAAI states that in many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early and a rainy spring can also promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold.
The ACAAI further suggests that the timing and severity of an allergy season vary across the country and to know your triggers and work with your medical provider or allergist. This is especially important if you have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.
Certain over-the-counter medications used to treat nasal and sinus congestion such as decongestants are NOT recommended because they can increase blood pressure. They also may keep some high blood pressure medications from working the way they should. See this WebMD article for more information.
Always check with your medical provider or pharmacist before starting a medication for allergies, including herbs and supplements. Also watch out for combination medications for allergies that include decongestant ingredients such as remedies for cold, flu and sinus problems.