Sneezing, itchy nose and watery eyes -- each a symptom of allergic rhinitis.
Coined “hay fever” after farmers would commonly experience these fever-type symptoms working out in the fields, seasonal allergies has symptoms country boy Craig Anderson has experienced all his life.
“We would play in the weeds until our eyes got so inflamed that we couldn’t even find our way home. It was kind of the question of the blind leading the blind, trying to find our way home,” he said. “But we managed it.”
Johnnie Cook, M.D., said seasonal allergies are caused by pollens in the air: “What happens is that you breathe in that pollen and your body has a reaction because it thinks that’s a foreign thing.”
In the springtime, grass and tree pollens are high. Pollen from weeds trickle in as early as August and sticks around until the first hard frost,” he explained. Symptoms include itchy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and nasal congestion, and seasonal allergies can lead to irritability and trouble sleeping.
“There are studies where we see more allergies and more asthma now than we used to in the past.” Cook said although there are no official studies yet available, he suspects the reasoning may be attributed to more pollution and kids spending more time indoors than playing outside.
Cook added that allergies can come at any age, typically after you’ve been exposed for several years. Thirty to 40 percent of seasonal allergies can be treated with over-the-counter medications. The doctor urges reading labels closely and pay special attention to how long the medication lasts.
“Some studies show that Benadryl in a 25 mg. dose can be as impairing as alcohol at a legal limit,” Cook said. If symptoms persist, make an appointment with your doctor to explore the one of the many options for treatment. “There are some great solutions out there. (Allergy sufferers) should really seek a physician rather than be miserable and miss out on life. Life’s too precious.”