Got the sniffles? You aren’t the only one. Spring allergy season is in full swing in Oklahoma City, which means many Oklahomans are experiencing allergy symptoms like headaches, runny noses, scratchy throats, and itchy eyes.
Oklahoma was ranked eighteenth in the United States for “Most Challenging Places to Live With Spring Allergies.” Oklahoma was so highly rated because it’s one of the windiest cities in America, and windy days carry high amounts of pollen in the air.
When is Allergy Season
The climate in Oklahoma consists of regular, typical seasons, but dry, windy weather and short winters make allergy symptoms in the spring season much more intense. Like most Midwestern states, Oklahoma gets extremely cold in the winter. These winters end quickly, causing trees to pollinate as early as February. As a result, there is an explosion of allergies in the spring. Spring is the biggest allergy season for Oklahoma City, with grass pollen and trees being the biggest allergen culprit.
Allergy season in Oklahoma City starts in early February and can pause or take a small break when the weather gets freezing. Oklahoma City allergy season begins so early because the city’s short, mild winters mean the trees start pollinating earlier in the year. Oklahoma also doesn’t receive much rain, which means fewer days when the pollen is washed away. The city experiences very dry and windy weather, allowing the pollen to travel more easily. The worst time for allergies is spring, with March to June being the worst months.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies occur when someone’s immune system reacts negatively to a substance in the environment that is harmless to others. These substances are called allergens. Allergens can be plants, trees, weeds, food, or latex. In someone’s immune system, which experiences allergies, their immune cells bind with an allergen, triggering a reaction. This reaction is driven by a chemical in the body called histamine. That is why some medications are called “antihistamines.”
When someone encounters an allergy for the first time, that person usually doesn’t get allergy-like symptoms immediately. It’s only the following times the person experiences the allergy. When your body meets the allergen for the first time, special cells fight the foreign substance. When the cells are exposed a second or even a third time, it causes an uproar in the immune system. This uproar can be characterized by allergy symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, or headache.
Which Plants Cause Allergies in Oklahoma City
Grass pollen is a massive allergen in Oklahoma City, but trees cause the most issues for people with allergies. The trees that cause the most problems are juniper, oak, mulberry, hack wood, and mesquite.
Avoid Allergy Triggers
Pollen is challenging to avoid, but you can take steps to prevent encountering it, such as staying indoors on windy days. When the pollen count is high or the weather is dry and windy, try to stay indoors as much as possible. It’s best to stay indoors between 5 am and 10 am when allergens peak. The best time of the day to go outside is after a prolonged rain when the pollen is washed away. But, if you need to go outside for school or work, wear a dust mask to keep the pollen out of your nose and mouth.
Another way to help stop allergies is to vacuum and dust often, bathe, and do laundry frequently. Cleaning will help remove pollen from your floors, and bathing and doing laundry will help it get off your skin and clothes. You can also avoid airborne pollen by keeping your windows closed. One more step you can take is to keep your windows closed and use a HEPA filter in your air conditioning. You can also use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor air dry.
Best Allergy Treatments
If you suffer from severe allergies, please contact a doctor, but these over-the-counter medications can help reduce allergy symptoms.
When someone’s immune system reacts to allergies, a “histamine reaction” occurs. A histamine reaction is a typical reaction that takes place in allergic situations. Claritin®, Allegra®, Zyrtec®, and Benadryl® are all suitable antihistamines you can buy over the counter.
Steroid Nasal Spray
If you have sinus issues for your allergy symptoms, using a nasal spray is the best way to fight it. Using a nasal spray such as Flonase®, Nasacort®, or Nasonex will decrease sinus inflammation and slow down the production of mucus. When using a nasal spray, it is essential to inhale the medicine gently so it stays in your sinus cavity. If you sniff too hard, you swallow the medication, which will go into your stomach.
Expectorants such as Mucinex® break up mucus in your chest, making it easier to cough out the mucus in your lungs.
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