Spring is Here, Allergies are Too
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US.
Pollen is one of the most common allergens in America. Nearly 50-M people in the US suffer from nasal allergies and as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children are affected.
The AAFA released a list of the worst cities to live in when you suffer from spring allergies.
The report uses pollen scores, allergy medication use and the number of board-certified allergists who practice in the area as some of the criteria to develop its list.
The Top 5 cities are as follows:
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Syracuse, New York
- Louisville, Kentucky
- McAllen, Texas
The Big Q: Why do we humans suffer allergies?
This video is a visual of reactions occurring in your body as you are exposed to pollen and other protein allergens.
Seasonal allergies cause a number of symptoms, including sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, watery and itchy eyes and itching in your nose, mouth or throat.
These are the body’s reactions to foreign particles (allergens). The 1st time your body is exposed to an allergen, your plasma cells release immunoglobulin (IGE), an antibody design specific to an allergen.
The IGE attaches to the surface of mast cells found in surface tissue, such as your skin and nasal mucosa. Mast cells release a number of important cell mediators, one of which is histamine helping to mediate an inflammatory response.
The 2nd time you encounter a particular allergen, your mast cells are activated and release a powerful combination of histamines, leukotrienes and prostaglandins, triggering a cascade of symptoms you associate with allergies.
The Key is to reduce exposure to allergens
The ACAAI suggests you may reduce your exposure by doing the following:
1. Avoiding clothing made of synthetic fabrics, as they can produce an electric charge when rubbed, attracting pollen and making it stick. Better options include natural fibers like cotton.
When exercising outdoors make it either before dawn, in the late afternoon and/or early evening, as pollen counts are at the lowest during these times. Intense exercise may make you inhale more pollen and so should be done indoors.
Wear gloves and a mask when gardening. To filter pollen, wear a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated 95 filter mask. Also avoid touching your eyes and, when done, be sure to take a shower and wash your clothes.
Reduce your exposure to indoor allergens by regularly vacuuming your home, including furniture, ideally with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner; leave shoes by the door to avoid trekking dirt through the house and use a dehumidifier and/or a HEPA filter air purifier.
Allergies affect several systems in the body and we need a multifaceted approach to address symptoms and reduce reactions.
Tired of suffering through what should be one of the most pleasant times of the year?
Then now is the time to address more than what occurs in your eyes nose and throat. So, it is important to begin with a healthy gut and optimized vitamin D levels.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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