It’s that time of year again: the sun is up, the snow is melted, it’s perfect weather to be outside. You get out there and then it hits you. Your eyes are red and itchy, your nose is stuffed, and you’re sneezing a lot. Being outside suddenly becomes exhausting and uncomfortable. These symptoms can last for weeks or sometimes even months. It can make it more difficult to concentrate, sleep or work. This is a common feeling for those who experience seasonal allergies.
There are many different things that you may be allergic to this time of year. Most people who have seasonal allergies are allergic to pollen from trees that start to bloom around this time. However, you can also be allergic to “snow mold” or spores from the mold growing on leaves left on the ground from last fall. Seasonal allergies can also occur in the summer which is more likely to be caused by grasses or in the fall from Ragweed, however, this is not common in Alberta.
Allergic Responses in the Body
When particles such as pollens, molds, or grasses are released into the air they can be inhaled. The immune system picks up these particles and tries to identify it. In healthy individuals, the body recognizes this as a non-threatening particle and gets rid of it. However, in a person with allergies, these little particles are identified as a threat and they set off a cascade of events. The body will create antibodies against it. These antibodies attached to mast cells, a type of immune cell. Whenever more of those particles enter the body, the mast cells will release something called histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate and fluid to move into the area, resulting in the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. The nose and the eyes have a lot of mast cells, which is why we see a lot of symptoms related to eyes and nose.
Seasonal allergies can be managed naturopathically. If you suffer from seasonal allergies and need help, book an appointment with one of our doctors today.