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Bummer Alert: Your Allergies Can Act Up Even If There's Still Snow on the Ground
You might not have loved the sub-zero temperatures over the past few months, but at least they kept your allergies under wraps. Unfortunately, though, spring allergy season has now arrived—andyou can suffer fromallergysymptoms even if it's still cold and snowy right now where you live, says David Rosenstreich, M.D., director of the division of allergy and immunology at Montefiore Medical Center.
Blame it on the trees: This is the time of year when the wind starts transporting pollen from tall timbers. When you inhale these particles, your immune system overreacts and makes your body release histamines into the blood to fight them off. The chemicals can inflame cells, causing you to experience allergy symptoms like a scratchy throat or a runny nose. (Pollen from grass, flowers, and weeds—which is primarily pollinated through insects that aren't out and about yet—won't start causing allergy symptoms until late spring and summer.)
The good news? Youcantake measures to prevent symptoms—or at least prepare your body to handle them better later on. If you've been outside, strip off your outer layers immediately and hit the shower (your skin, hair, and clothes may contain pollen that you could track all over your house), says Rosenstreich. Consider investing in an air purifier, too, since it helps sterilize the atmosphere around you.
As for popping pills, seasonal allergy medications are most effective when you take thembeforeyour symptoms get really bad, says Rosenstreich. So start taking them as directed at the first sign of symptoms (rather than waiting until they get worse). And if the OTC meds aren't cutting it, you can always ask your doctor for more information about allergy shots.
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