Spring is in the air. Literally. From weeds to spores to grass and tree pollens, the warm weather is almost here, driving airborne allergen levels through the roof. That means your allergy symptoms -- the sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes -- are in overdrive and apt to stay that way for months.
What can you do? WebMD asked some of the country's leading allergy experts to weigh in with answers to your top questions about spring allergies. Here are suggestions for helping you find some much-needed...
While some allergy sufferers experience an occasional sniffle, sneeze, or
runny nose, allergies can cause miserable and sometimes serious symptoms such
as fatigue, headache, itchy eyes, and even asthma symptoms.
When these symptoms continue for weeks without any allergy relief, they can
result in missed time from work or school, lower productivity, and even health
problems like sinus infections and sinus pain.
Is it any wonder that nasal allergies, particularly at night, can keep you
from feeling your best and being productive?
Why do you get allergies?
If you want to place any blame, go ahead and put it on your parents. It's
true. Allergies are a genetic disease, says William E. Berger, MD, MBA,
professor of medicine at the University of California, and the sneezing,
itching, and nasal congestion run in families. When one parent has allergies
about 25% of the time a child will develop allergies, also. When both parents
have allergies, there's at least a 50% chance that their children will have
You can also blame your miserable allergy symptoms on histamines, the
chemicals in the body that cause swelling of the mucosal membranes and
increased mucus production.
Histamines are released quickly in response to contact with an allergen (the
substance you're allergic to). Once the histamines get released, they do their
damage big time and result in a host of allergy symptoms (ongoing sneezing,
weepy eyes, itchy nose, and nasal stuffiness).