The arrival of spring brings fragrant, blooming trees and lush green grasses – and sneezing and wheezing for millions of people with pollen allergy. The big question for allergy sufferers is, how bad will it be?
Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, affects an estimated 40 million Americans and causes symptoms of sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and a burning or itchy sensation in the throat or palate. Spring allergy is most commonly caused by tree and grass pollens, and depends on where an allergic individual lives and the time of year that pollination occurs.
While there is no way to accurately predict pollen counts or how bad this spring allergy season will be, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), there are several factors that can influence how much allergy sufferers will sneeze, wheeze and itch their eyes.
Trees are usually the first on the scene to cause trouble during allergy season. They are among the earliest plants to start producing pollen, the dust-like, male reproductive parts of plants that cause most allergies. In some southern states, trees can produce pollen as early as January (in south and west Texas cedar pollination will begin around Christmas time in December), while pollen production usually begins in April in the north.
Grasses usually come along to stir up allergy symptoms after the trees are through pollinating – typically from late spring to early summer.
No matter what the spring allergy season brings, the ACAAI encourages people with pollen allergy to take control of their condition through:
The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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