Many of you are elated with the unseasonably warm weather we’re been having, but surprisingly, an early spring can be bad for your health.
With an early spring, the warmer weather inspires many of us to get outdoors and be more active which is great overall for your health, but there is a downside. A longer spring means mosquitoes and ticks that spread diseases like Zika and Lyme disease can live longer. There’s also the possibility they can spread to new areas. And as a practicing physician, I see firsthand how earlier springs makes the allergy season much longer and more severe for those of us with allergic illnesses.
Spring goes hand-in-hand with allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. It’s mainly caused by an allergy to pollen from flowering plants known as ragweed. An early spring not only means earlier flowering, but more pollen produced over multiple cycles.
Hay fever symptoms vary from mild to severe. You may have a runny, stuffy nose; sneezing, itchy eyes or nose; red puffy eyes and sleep disruption. Chronic sinus issues and asthma attacks can happen if you have a severe reaction. If you suffer with hay fever, here are my prescriptions:
1. Check the pollen count before heading outside – if it’s high or windy, you should consider staying indoors.
2. Change your clothes and shower after spending time outdoors to remove any lingering pollen.
3. Be sure to keep windows and doors closed to help keep the pollen out of your home.
4. Try rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution as it can relieve congestion.
There’s a skin test where allergens are placed under your skin and then observed for reactions like redness and swelling. There’s also a blood test available. If your symptoms are interfering with your quality of life, discuss medications and other options with your family doctor.