As Alabamans experience seasonal changes, we also must be prepared for the allergies that come with them. Seasonal allergies are known to cause symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, coughing, and runny noses. It’s vital to be aware of the allergies that are especially impactful on the senior community because allergy symptoms can be particularly dangerous for senior citizens with cardiovascular issues, or those who exhibit respiratory difficulties such as asthma. Knowing what types of allergies occur as the seasons change is essential to understanding how to treat their subsequent symptoms.
Emphasis on the “Season” in “Seasonal Allergies”
Seasonal allergies, in general, are caused by pollen, and the types of pollen in the air depend on the time of year in which the respective plants are flowering. During the late winter and early spring, many trees are beginning to flower and produce lots of pollen to be transported into the air. The trees flowering during late winter and early spring also include cone-bearing trees, such as pines and cedars. If you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies during the middle of spring and early summer, you are likely experiencing a reaction to grass pollen. For the rest of the year, in summer and early fall, seasonal allergies can be attributed to allergy to weeds—especially ragweed.
In Alabama specifically, it is possible to find some plants that are in the process of flowering during every time of year! Since the Alabaman winters are rarely cold enough to prevent plants from flowering, especially aggressive weeds like henbit or dandelions will still flower in December and January. With that said, it’s important to remain vigilant and keep an eye on the pollen count depending on the region that you call home.
Tips, and Tricks, and Treatments for Alabama Allergies
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that different people have different needs and sensitivities. For senior citizens with asthma, cardiovascular issues, or other health concerns, it’s important to consult an allergist before taking medications or actions that might result in unwanted side effects. After it’s clear what you need to make it through the seasonal allergy slump and enjoy all that the given season has to offer, there are more actions you can take to make sure that enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t come with annoying itchy eyes, cough, or runny nose.
It’s always beneficial to think ahead; it’s important to start thinking about taking medications and precautions two weeks before symptoms usually start. This is especially true of Alabamans that suffer from ragweed allergies in the Fall. For instance, ragweed can begin to bloom in mid-August in some parts of the Alabama, so it’d be beneficial to start medications as early as the beginning of August. In tandem, it’s also important to continue medications through to about two weeks after the pollen counts go down in order to ensure holistic coverage.
Aside from medication, the food you eat can also supplement your fight against allergy symptoms. Foods such as apples, walnuts, leafy greens, ginger, flax seed, and anything high in Vitamin C are known to combat inflammation from seasonal allergies.
Removing allergens and preventing bringing pollen indoors is another large component; keeping your windows closed, as well as leaving your shoes at the door, can help prevent bringing pollen into your living space. Making sure that you take thorough showers and wash your hair after working or playing outside can also assist in minimizing the allergens around your home. Whilst outside, try to wear filter masks while mowing the lawn or doing outdoor chores, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from irritants and harmful UV rays. Be sure to monitor pollen levels through local weather reports in order to prepare and treat oneself accordingly.
Seasonal allergies affect people of all ages and knowing how they affect you personally makes all the difference. Be sure to take care of yourself and take the actions necessary to ensure you can enjoy the changing of the seasons, no matter what pollen or weeds may be in bloom. In Alabama, there are different plants flowering during each different season, so be sure to remain mindful of which ones you might be sensitive to and keep an eye on the pollen forecast! Working proactively and being conscious of your body and its needs is centric to making sure that allergy season doesn’t ruin a nice day in the outdoors.
Article written by Rhianna DeVries