Northside Allergy Newsletter Spring 2012

Jun 1, 2012

An excerpt from the Spring 2012 Northside Allergy Newsletter (Spring is in the Air):

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction caused by an allergy to airborne particles that are inhaled. According to the Mayo Clinic, hay fever is common and affects more than 1 in 5 people. Most outdoor allergens, such as pollens and mold spores, produce seasonal symptoms. The most common symptoms include: itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and sometimes aggravation of asthma symptoms (Greer 120).
Pollen are tiny cells needed to fertilize plants. Pollen from plants with colorful flowers, like roses, typically do notcause allergies. These plants rely on insects to transport the pollen for fertilization. Other plants have pollen that is light and dry, and easily spread by the wind. This type of pollen is what causes allergy symptoms. Tree pollination occurs in the early spring, usually beginning in March through May, with the season typically ending in June. Grass pollen is common in the late spring and summer (Greer, 31). A resource to keep track of pollen counts in your area is the website www.pollen.com.
Mold spores float in the air like pollen, and outdoor mold spores begin to increase in number as the temperatures rise in the spring. Mold spores can be found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood (AAAAI).
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system identifies a harmless airborne substance as something foreign and harmful. The body then starts making antibodies to the substance. This is called sensitization. The next time the body is exposed to the same airborne substance, the antibodies recognize it and tell the immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream. The chemicals, such as histamine, cause a reaction that leads to the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (Mayo Clinic).
Refer to the table to the right, “How can I avoid pollen exposure," for ways to avoid your specific triggers. (Available with link to pdf file). An evaluation by your doctor or allergist is recommended to determine the best treatment plan. Treatment may include medications, blood or skin testing, and even allergy shots.

REFERENCES: 1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 2012. Outdoor allergens: tips to remember. Retrieved March 30, 2012, from http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/outdoor-allergens.aspx
2. Mayo Clinic, 2012. Hay fever. [online] Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hay fever/DS00174 [Accessed 30 March 2012].
3. “ Understanding allergens and extracts." GREER Allergy Immunotherapy Compendium. Greer Human Allergy, 2011. 27-31.