FEATURES: Managing Seasonal Allergies While Staying Fit and Healthy

FEATURES: Managing Seasonal Allergies While Staying Fit and Healthy

The arrival of spring in our area has brought warmer weather, blooming flowers, and green grass, but it has also brought seasonal allergies for many individuals. These allergies are caused by pollen produced by plants, with tree pollen being the most common culprit in the spring, grass in the summer, and ragweed in the fall. Symptoms of seasonal allergies include watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and a cough, which can start within minutes of exposure and last for hours.

Seasonal allergies occur when the immune system has an abnormal response to pollen. When inhaled, pollen acts as an allergen that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, including IgE. These antibodies trigger mast cells in the airways to produce histamines, leading to the symptoms of seasonal allergies. This process is similar to how allergies to other substances, such as dust mites, animal dander, and certain foods, develop.

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat seasonal allergy symptoms, with options like fexofenadine, loratadine, cetirizine, and diphenhydramine available. Some antihistamines also include decongestants for added relief. In addition to medication, reducing exposure to pollen can help alleviate symptoms, such as keeping windows closed, minimizing outdoor activity during peak pollen times, and checking pollen levels in weather forecasts.

Many people wonder if it is safe to exercise with seasonal allergies. Typically, it is safe to exercise if your symptoms are above the neck, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, or sneezing. However, since allergy symptoms worsen with increased pollen exposure, exercising outdoors on high pollen days may exacerbate symptoms due to increased breathing. It is important to consider pollen levels and your symptoms before deciding to exercise outdoors.

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