While many Americans look forward to the promise of warmer weather and fewer mornings running late for work because you forgot to defrost your car, just as many people cringe at the thought of spring. For these individuals, springtime is equivalent to pollen and pollen means allergies and allergies mean nasty symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion. And it’s not like these allergies last for a week like a normal cold and then go on their merry way - allergies can last for the entire season, making the springtime months unbearable for many.
Because allergies can have a greater effect on some people and a lesser effect on others, it can be a daunting task to figure out how to best take care of yourself during allergy season. While many turn to allergy medications for relief, others seek out more natural options to alleviate the discomfort. Regardless of how intense your allergy symptoms become, understanding allergies and the way your body fights against these invaders can offer insight into the most effective combative strategies.
Seasonal allergies develop because the body’s immune system has become sensitized and is overreacting to something in the environment.
In other words, your body’s immune system freaks out when certain particles enter the body and then fights against these particles as if they were invasive. This is why certain people are allergic to one thing and others aren’t. One person’s body registers pollen as a dangerous toxin and so the immune system overreacts to protect the body when pollen is present. Another, on the other hand, doesn’t view pollen as a toxin and therefore doesn’t get sick because there’s nothing for their body to fight.
Essentially, your body’s allergies are like that overprotective mother whose paranoia about the possibilities of sickness forces their kids to practice everything hygienic short of wearing a hazmat suit - it’s well-intentioned but highly inconvenient.
Have you ever cut your hand and noticed how it immediately turns red? This happens because of the surge of blood cells to the area to put up a protective guard and prevent infection-causing toxins from entering the bloodstream. The redness, or inflammation, is a sign that your immune system is functioning properly.
Inflammation happens externally as well as internally when the body fights invaders, and as you’ve probably guessed, it’s exactly what occurs during allergy season. The reason you might feel so miserable is because of the increased inflammation within the body. Inflammation causes joint and muscle pain, along with redness and puffiness in the skin, as can be seen in the nose and eye area.
Overall, inflammation makes you feel sluggish and potentially miserable, especially if you experience more than one allergy symptom. The hard work your body does fighting pathogens can lead to fatigue which leads to exhausted joints, muscles and energy levels, causing a feeling of overall sickness.
So, what’s to be done aside from sealing yourself in the house until the trees and plants are done blooming?
We’re glad you asked.
With seasonal allergies, your immune system forces itself to work overtime, constantly fighting against the influx of pollen and other airborne plant materials. And while there’s no telling your immune system to cool it, there is a way to help boost it so it doesn’t wear itself out and leave your body compromised.
As with all things, the best way to protect your body from the inside out and before the problem begins. First, seasonal allergies are seasonal - you know when to expect them. Depending on where you live in the US, spring can start anywhere from March to May, and so it’s a good idea to begin taking preventative measures before the trees start blooming.
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