Getting Set for Spring and the Start of the Sneezing Season

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Thunder Bay braces for an intense allergy season with early spring onset. Expert tips on recognizing and managing seasonal allergies effectively
Thunder Bay braces for an intense allergy season with early spring onset. Expert tips on recognizing and managing seasonal allergies effectively

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – As spring descends upon Thunder Bay, the awakening flora brings not only beauty but a surge in seasonal allergies, transforming what is typically a time of renewal into a challenging period for many. With spring finally looking like it is coming finally, experts warn of heightened allergy symptoms, prompting a need for effective management strategies.

The Early Bird Gets the… Allergy?

According to Rebecca Schapira, D.O., an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and an allergist, the shift towards an earlier spring due to climate change means tree pollination begins sooner. Consequently, residents might notice the onset of allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, and itchy or watery eyes much earlier in the year.

First-Line Defense: Over-the-Counter Solutions

For those dreading the annual battle with pollen, Schapira suggests over-the-counter allergy medications as a viable first step. Steroid nasal sprays, recommended for patients over four, emerge as the top choice, requiring a lead time of 2-4 weeks to reach full effectiveness.

Meanwhile, oral antihistamines offer immediate relief but may fall short in combating nasal symptoms compared to their steroid spray counterparts. Local pharmacists play a crucial role in guiding individuals to the appropriate medications, emphasizing the importance of selecting nasal sprays suitable for long-term use.

When Allergies Intensify: Seeking Specialist Care

For Thunder Bay residents grappling with severe allergies, a visit to an allergist could be transformative. Identifying specific allergens through testing allows for a personalized treatment plan, enhancing the quality of life during allergy season.

Schapira stresses the significance of understanding your allergic triggers to tailor treatment effectively.

Allergies or Cold? Deciphering Symptoms

Differentiating between a cold and allergy symptoms can be puzzling, given their similarities. Schapira clarifies that allergies stem from the immune system’s reaction to environmental triggers, producing predictable and reproducible symptoms that can last several weeks.

In contrast, colds, often accompanied by fever, arise from viral infections, with symptoms typically resolving within a couple of weeks.

The Age Factor in Allergies

Interestingly, the body’s response to allergens can evolve with age. While the immune system may become more tolerant to allergens like pollen in later years, there’s also the possibility of developing new allergic responses. This variability underscores the importance of monitoring and adjusting allergy management strategies over time.

Navigating the Season of Sniffles

As Thunder Bay gears up for the spring season, residents are encouraged to take proactive steps in managing their allergy symptoms. Whether through over-the-counter medications, consulting healthcare professionals, or understanding the nuances between allergies and common colds, informed strategies can significantly mitigate the impact of seasonal allergies.

With expert advice and effective remedies, the community can look forward to enjoying the spring season, despite its allergenic accompaniments.

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