Thalpos-Mental Health

Spring allergies

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Spring allergies

From the head of nurses of the Rehabilitation Unit "Thalpos Attica" Georgia Santourtzoglou.

When it comes to spring, blooming landscapes full of flowers and trees, the warm sun and outdoors activities on mountains and beaches are among the most common and simultaneously most favorite images we bring to our mind. For many, however, this beloved season, besides the sunny days, also brings a very annoying and in some occasions painful reaction of our organism, the allergy.

The term allergy first appeared in 1906 when the Austrian scientist Clemens von Pirquet identified allergy’s causes and symptoms to human body. The word allergy, comes from the ancient Greek words "other" and "work". As its etymology reveals, the word indicates the unusual, excessive and unexpected reaction of the organism to a foreign substance called allergen, which is usually harmless, for example the pollens.

Symptoms of allergy tend to be more, especially days when the wind picks up the pollen and transfers it through the air. On the other hand, on rainy days and due to rain, the amount of pollen decreases as allergens settle down to the ground. Besides pollen though, which is the main cause, it has been observed that dust mites and to a lesser extent, certain foods such as apples, peaches and pears could cause allergies to humans as well. Lots of people show body reactions to melons and celery too.

The main symptoms of allergies are nasal runny nose, sneezing, tearing, coughing, itching in the eyes and nose, and sometimes dark circles under the eyes.

Common allergies in the spring are divided to allergic rhinitis, urticaria and angioedema, asthma, conjunctivitis and anaphylaxis.

For those living in areas with intense vegetation it is impossible to avoid spring allergies. However, there are several easy and smart ways to relieve rhinorrhea and tearing. It is important to avoid direct contact with plants that cause you allergy, even though their pollen is transferred by air miles away. Wear sunglasses especially if you have conjunctivitis and close the windows when driving in the countryside. Try to limit going out when the amount of pollen in the atmosphere is too high (especially in the morning hours). If possible, keep the doors and windows closed during the spring months to keep out the allergens. Clean the air conditioning filters at home as well as the shelves from all the surfaces in your home where the pollen could settle down. Wash your hair and change clothes frequently to prevent pollen from settling. Be aware of animals’ fur because it works as a dust and pollen collector. For this, it’s necessary to thoroughly clean the animal.

To avoid allergies start from the kitchen by putting in your daily schedule some foods which have proved to be important allies. For example, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound which gives it a very powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation. Garlic also contains cetacetin that strengthens the immune system and the body manages to resist more vigorously the allergen. Nuts are rich in fats and can suppress inflammation in the tissues and, of course, yoghurt which limits the allergic reaction to pollen.

Antihistamines are prescribed for the treatment of runny nose, sneezing and itching. In some cases, the use of endocrine spray of cortisone works in such a way as to combat allergic inflammation and throbbing, as well as the administration of decongestants. Lastly, leukotriene antagonists are suggested for patients suffering from asthma.