Spring season not fun for allergy sufferers

Many embrace the spring thanks to its warm weather and budding flowers and trees. Those with seasonal allergies, however, may not look so favorably on the new season.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, about 50 million Americans experience spring allergies. Some may have allergies each and every year. Others may find their allergies are newly discovered. The most common allergy triggers in spring include trees, grasses and weeds.

Allergies can evoke a number of symptoms:

* itchy eyes

* sneezing

* congestion

* headaches

* coughing

* runny nose

* sore throat

* shortness of breath

* hives

Several of the symptoms of allergies mimic those of the common cold, and allergies are often mistaken for late winter colds. But as time spent outdoors with flowering plants triggers symptoms or inhalation of dust from spring cleaning induces an attack, the allergy culprit may become more apparent.

Pollen is one of the main contributors to allergies in the spring. For many people, pollen is seen as an outside invader to the body and its immune system. When pollen is inhaled or comes in contact with the eyes, the immune system triggers a response to get rid of the foreign substance. Excess mucous buildup and tears may be generated to wash out the pollen. What all of this fluid can mean is sinus pressure, runny nose, watery eyes, and eventually cough or congestion from fluids running down the breathing passages and into the lungs.

As the body prepares to fend off pollen invaders, other symptoms may occur. Fatigue, aches and pains and other flu-like symptoms may be present. While battling pollen, the immune system is in full swing and may not be able to fully devote attention to other invaders, like bacteria and viruses. A person with allergies might be more susceptible to sickness.

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