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Seasonal allergy sufferers know that the first dustings of pollen mean their noses and eyes are about to be assaulted with agonizing allergy symptoms. Seasonal allergies can make it seem like the body is waging a war against itself, and it’s not pretty. Sneezing, runny noses, sinus congestion and itchy, watery eyes are all manifestations of springtime bodily revolt. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease. But what actually causes all of the allergy misery you experience? Let’s break it down, with AFC Doctors Express.

What are seasonal allergies?

The symptoms commonly known as seasonal allergies are the body’s response to airborne allergens like pollen from trees and grasses. Allergy sufferers can usually handle small amounts of their allergens. But when an allergen becomes really prevalent in the air around them, it triggers an allergic reaction from the body. Anyone who’s been through it knows to take their antihistamines to make their allergies easier to deal with.

What happens in the body?

Here’s a breakdown of the series of events that take place in the body of someone with seasonal allergies. When an irritant enters the nasal passages, throat, eyes and lungs, the body begins a series of reactions to get it out. This involves the immune system producing specialized cells called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which are antibodies that travel to the affected cells and release chemicals to attack and kill the substances. The chemicals include histamines, which cause your symptoms in their effort to eliminate the allergens from your body. Histamines are what make you cough, sneeze, tear up and itch. Histamines have an important role, but they can make life miserable, which is why medications called antihistamines exist.

How do you treat allergies?

When you have seasonal allergies, all you want is for your symptoms to go away. For many people, seasonal allergies are treated with allergy pills, shots or nose drops. Many doctors will also recommend using physical barriers to limit exposure to allergens, like closing windows and wearing filter masks and sunglasses. There are several allergy treatment options, but you must catch your symptoms early, or even before they start, for your treatment to be most effective.

Seasonal allergies are uncomfortable, draining and frustrating, but here at AFC Doctors Express, we don’t think you should have to suffer with them all season. To get treatment for your seasonal allergies, no appointment necessary, think AFC Doctors Express!