Spring is Here—Beware of Allergies!
by Optoplus / May 2019
Slowly but surely, warm days are coming. As much as it symbolizes rebirth, spring also heralds seasonal allergies of all kinds. Allergic reactions can be the result of indoor allergens, such as mites, animals, mold, and the like. But allergies can also be seasonal. When an allergy symptom shows itself in springtime (from mid-March to late-June), it may be a reaction to trees and shrubs, including birch, maple, and poplar. During summer (from late-May to mid-October), herbs like grass, wheat, and corn can cause reactions. Lastly, in fall (from late-July to October), ragweed is a common allergy culprit.
Below you will find out how allergies work and what you can do to keep your allergies under control.
Allergies and Symptoms
Allergies arise when the body reacts to an allergen, which is usually harmless in itself and is most often airborne. Once the allergen comes into contact with mucous (found in the nose, the mouth and the eyes), the body reacts.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can resemble those of a common cold. In general, allergies can cause headaches, fatigue, runny nose, repeated sneezing and coughing. Allergies can also cause itchiness in the eyes, throat, nose, ears and palate. Many other symptoms can affect the eyes in particular, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. Some sufferers’ eyes exhibit redness, excessive tearing up and even swelling eyelids. Notably, allergic reactions affect both eyes equally and simultaneously.
Managing Eye Allergies Day-to-Day
Luckily, there are many steps you can take in order to ease eye allergies. First of all, you should try to identify what causes an allergic reaction and effectively avoid exposure to the allergen in question. It is also important to deduce whether you are reacting to an outdoor allergen or an indoor one.
On the one hand, if it is an outdoor allergen, remain indoors when the pollen density is at its highest or the wind its strongest. Additionally, we recommend keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning in the house and in the car. You should also avoid drying your clothes outdoors. If you mow the lawn, be sure to wear a dust mask and, once you are indoors, change your clothes and take a shower to eliminate all trace of pollen. If you have animals who venture outdoors, be sure to wash your hands after handling them and, most importantly, avoid touching your eyes.
On the other hand, if you are dealing with an indoor allergen, make sure to always keep your home clean by washing your floors and removing dust from your furniture with a wet cloth. Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean, remember to change your bed-sheets regularly and be sure to dehumidify your home as needed, so as to reduce mold growth. If you wear contact lenses, we suggest using disposable lenses, given that dust can adhere to a lens’s wet surface after each use. Lastly, no matter how much your eyes itch, resist the urge to rub them, as this could aggravate the itchiness.
How Do You Treat an Eye Allergy ?
If preventative measures alone do not diminish your discomfort considerably, some treatments can be administered to provide you with temporary relief.
The first treatment would be to apply a compress of cold water to your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes. This treatment should help mitigate the irritation. You could also apply eye drops, also known as artificial tears, which are available over the counter. These drops can provide additional relief if they are refrigerated. Should drops prove to be ineffective, you can use off-the-shelf antihistamine medication. Keep in mind that only your optometrist can prescribe antihistamine eye drops, which would be adjusted to the severity of your condition.
Not everyone experiences eye allergies the same way. In Canada, approximately one-sixth of the population is affected by seasonal allergies. If you suffer from intense and frequent reactions yearly, it is recommended that you consult an OPTOPLUS specialist, who would happily direct you to the product best suited to help your condition and reduce medical complications. In more extreme cases, your optometrist may suggest consulting an allergist in order to perform formal allergy tests.
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