As the Warmer months hit, it’s a time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. However, for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, symptoms can put a dark cloud over the fun, whatever the time of year. Unfortunately, it can affect anyone in the family, from kids through to the elderly. With some sources claiming that Charlotte could be facing ones of the worst allergy seasons in decades, it’s important to take control over your family’s health by understanding the cause of such reactions.
So, how can you pinpoint what’s causing the allergy, and where can you find some much-needed relief?
Allergy sufferers in Charlotte
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology estimates that allergic rhinitis affects between 40 to 60 million Americans. Often similar to the common cold, symptoms can include watery eyes, itchy skin, sneezing, and a runny nose, which often leaves sufferers feeling pretty rotten and exhausted, especially if struggling to get a good night of sleep.
Unfortunately, allergy sufferers in Charlotte feel the effects throughout the year due to mild Winters and hot Summers. The city has even been listed in a top 6 list of cities to avoid during high allergy seasons. Seasonal allergies are caused by either pollen or airborne mold spores, but if suffering all year round, symptoms may be due to other factors such as dust mites. The tricky part when managing seasonal allergies is identifying the cause. Pollen counts peak at different times of the year, and allergen types vary from region to region. High wind speeds can also cause pollen to spread over a wider area, affecting more sufferers.
Top Charlotte Allergies
When identifying the spread of pollen in any region, this great interactive map provided by HollisterStier Allergy provides a useful pollen calendar.
From the seasonal allergens of the southeast data, we can take several points:
- Tree pollen – There are 12 tree pollen allergens in Charlotte’s region, with 11 of them airborne in April. Severe allergens such as Ash, Oak, and Pine tree pollen peak over the Spring from March to May. Cedar, Juniper, and Elm tree pollens can also occur through to the fall months.
- Grass pollen – Severe grass allergens such as Rye, Johnson, and Bahia Grass pollens occur mostly throughout warmer months from May through to August, with all the 7 grass pollens in the southeast region airborne throughout June. Bermuda grass pollen is prominent for 6 months of the year through from April to September time.
- Weed pollen – There are 11 weed pollens in the southeast, with 10 of them airborne in July. Pollens such as Pigweed, Sagebrush, and Russian Thistle are at their most prominent during the Summer months. Severe weed allergens such as Dog Fennel and Ragweed continue to show their prominence through to October time.
Getting the Relief You Need
Airborne pollen allergens can be severe through from Spring to the fall, which is a long time to be suffering from hay fever symptoms. Off-season, in the colder and wetter months, you may also find symptoms flare up if sensitive to other allergens such as airborne mold spores.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to find relief.
Once you’ve identified the type of pollen causing symptoms, make some practical changes to reduce contact with the pollen.
- Trees often pollinate more in the morning, so if you need to go out, leave it until later in the day.
- Wear sunglasses to help protect eyes.
- Airborne pollen can get onto everything from pet hair to clothes. If you’ve been outside, have a shower and change once you get back home, removing the allergens from your home environment as much as possible.
- Ask a non-sufferer to help with any pet grooming.
- Use the AC rather than having windows open during peak seasons.
Building up immunity
When living in a particular region, you can build up your own resistance to pollen allergies by eating local honey, which will contain local pollen. Over time, taking in these small amounts can help sufferers become less sensitive to pollen in their area. Check out some of Charlotte’s ‘very local honey’ or even find your nearest beekeeper selling honey.
Speak to your local pharmacy about what they can provide you with for treating both the allergy and symptoms. Options include over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. Salt-water nasal washes may help remove pollen from your nose. If suffering from severe symptoms, speak to your Doctor, who may be able to prescribe allergy shots for cases in which immunotherapy is the best course of action. You can also get stronger, prescribed medications such as nasal sprays containing anti-inflammatory drugs, and your pharmacy will be able to provide these once you have a prescription.
While seasonal allergies are a pain to manage, take control by identifying the causes, taking steps to limit symptoms as much as possible.
Walker’s Drug Store has been helping residents in Charlotte for almost a century. We provide advice, over-the-counter medications and can help you with all your prescription needs after you’ve seen your Doctor.
To speak to one of our pharmacists, contact us or pop in and see us. We’re happy to help.