Spring is a beautiful time, but the seasonal beauty can be diminished by frequent sneezing, coughing, running nose, and eye irritation caused by allergens in the air. That's right—springtime allergies have reared their ugly heads. Our Allergist in Little Rock discusses the most common springtime allergies and where they come from.
Allergy to pollen and mold is commonly called Hay Fever and affects millions of people in the United States each year. When you inhale pollen or other similar allergens, your body’s immune system automatically reacts, considering the allergen to be a threat. This reaction is what causes the familiar allergy symptoms of sneezing, congestion, and eye and throat irritation.
In the springtime, tree-based pollen is commonly found in the air and on outdoor surfaces and is the most common cause of Hay Fever. Several types of trees emit pollen, including very common species such as oak, maple, sycamore, and red cedar. The warmer spring weather triggers the trees’ natural, seasonal germination process, which involves emitting pollen (tiny fertilizers) into the environment. Windy weather puts even more pollen into the air and contributes to its spread across the area.
In a way similar to pollen emission, mold spores are also released into the air in the spring and commonly cause allergic reactions. As damp areas on the ground (such as underneath layers of dead leaves) begin to warm up as spring arrives, mold develops rapidly. When these areas are disturbed by wind, people, or animals, spores are released into the air and carried by the wind. It is common for layers of mold to lie dormant in these areas during the winter, just waiting to be stirred up when warmer weather arrives.
Mold can also cause allergy problems inside peoples’ homes as well, usually in areas that are allowed to remain damp as ambient temperatures rise. Mildew and yeast are common sources of mold allergens in homes. Basements, bathrooms, underneath carpets, and other areas where moisture can accumulate are prime habitats for the development of mold as seasonal temperatures rise.
Dust mites are another common cause of springtime allergies. It is actually the waste produced by the mites that cause breathing irritation and allergic reactions. Many people experience dust mite allergies inside their homes during the spring, as the irritants can be found in furniture, carpets, and under rugs.
Consult your local allergist to assess what allergy triggers you have so you can take the proper precautions and medication this spring. It’s also important to do some spring cleaning and make sure you aren’t allowing mold to grow inside your home!
Don’t hesitate to contact our Allergist at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center, Dr. Meredith Dilley, to make an assessment and determine what preventative measures are best for you to manage your Spring allergies!