If you live in North Carolina, you already know how beautiful spring is here. Flowers bloom, birds sing, and a cool breeze washes over the entire state. For people with allergies, however, spring in North Carolina can mean cold symptoms that last for weeks or months at a time. In fact, North Carolina is one of the worst states for allergy sufferers.
By recognizing the symptoms and taking proper precautions, even folks with the most extreme allergies can get some serious relief and enjoy one of the most beautiful times of the year.
Symptoms of Spring Allergies
People often confuse allergies with other common conditions such as a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection. If you are suffering from cold symptoms for more than 14 days, you may want to visit your primary care doctor or an allergy specialist to get tested for allergies.
Common symptoms include:
- runny nose
- itchy or watery eyes
- scratchy throat
- pressure headaches
Common Causes of Spring Allergies in North Carolina
Every North Carolinian recognizes the yellow film that covers their cars, homes, clothes, and anything else that’s outside. It’s pine pollen. You may think this is the source of your allergy woes, but pine pollen is actually too large to cause allergic reactions.
Some of the most common tree pollens that causes allergies in NC include oak, poplar, hickory, walnut, and ash. Trees use pollen to reproduce, releasing it into the air to be carried along by North Carolina’s cool spring breeze we all enjoy so much.
If you are allergic to any of these tree pollens, you may suffer from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.
Trees are not the only source of allergy-inducing pollen. The same beautiful flowers that energize you as spring arrives may also be what’s making you feel miserable.
Chamomile, daisies, goldenrod, and chrysanthemums are some of the worst culprits.
Trees, flowers, and animals all reproduce more in the spring. Mold is no different. By releasing spores into the air, mold becomes one of the largest contributors to spring allergies.
Preventing Spring Allergy Symptoms
Avoid Contact with Allergens
Perhaps the best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to stay away from allergens in the first place. During the spring, keep an eye on Pollen.com, a great resource for local allergy information. When the allergy forecast is bad, it may be best to stay indoors, keep windows closed, and utilize your air conditioning unit. Install an air filter in your system that is specifically designed to reduce allergens.
If you do choose to go outside, it is best to keep the windows in your car up while driving.
Of course, remaining quarantined in your house for all of spring is not feasible. By cleaning regularly, you can reduce the allergens you come in contact with and keep your home allergy-free. Always take your shoes off when coming in from outdoors, and vacuum regularly (at least once a week).
Pollen and mold will cling to your hair, skin, and clothes. To avoid spreading the allergens, put your dirty clothes in a closed hamper at night and always take a shower before going to bed.
Medication is the last line of defense in protecting you from spring allergens in North Carolina. If you’re looking for some temporary relief, start with a saline nasal spray.
Other options include over-the-counter oral antihistamines like Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. For severe allergies, your doctor can prescribe a steroid nasal spray such as Nasonex or Flonase.
Whether you like to spend your time at Wrightsville Beach, Jordan Lake, or Grandfather Mountain, by recognizing your symptoms and being proactive you can make the most of spring in North Carolina.