Prepare yourself for allergy season with these helpful tips

Now that spring is upon us, it's time to welcome back all things beautiful and warm: sunshine, the gentle breeze, blooming flowers — and, unfortunately, raging allergies.

For those of you who are starting to experience anxiety over your yearly seasonal allergies, there's no reason to fear.

The best way to combat your irritating allergies is to know their cause, their characteristics, and their remedies.

In an exclusive guide below, we'll take a look at a few of the most effective tips to ward off any serious allergy symptoms, as well as some of the symptoms that you may not have experienced or even heard of.

Of course, dealing with allergies doesn't mean that you have to be afraid of venturing outside, or coming into contact with nature.

In fact, going outside will definitely strengthen your immunity and reduce any stress that you might have.

Scroll on to see how you can effectively protect yourself from irritating spring allergies, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

What Causes Spring Allergies?

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Spring allergies are most commonly triggered by pollen, which is released by trees, grass, weeds, and plants.

When these little pollen grains make their way into the nose of someone who is allergic, their immune system will see them as foreign invaders.

The body will release antibodies — which normally attack things like bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous organisms — to attack the pollen.

This causes chemicals called histamines to be released into the blood. And this in turn triggers what we know as "symptoms": a runny nose, itchy eyes, headaches, and a sore throat.

How Do I Know If I Have Seasonal Allergies?
Symptom #1: Itchy Ears

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There are usually some pretty telling signs of seasonal allergies. Dr. Sakina Shikari Bajowala, M.D. lists a few other symptoms, which can often be overlooked in children, who may not be able to describe their symptoms very well.

The first symptom is itchy ears. People sometimes mistake this as a symptom of an ear infection, or of swimmer's ear.

The ears may or may not appear slightly inflamed, and even may look similar to eczema. Symptoms usually can improve with prescription ear drops.

Symptom #2: Skin Rashes

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Skin rashes can occur due to various reasons — food allergies, contact with a metal allergen, and seasonal allergies.

Typically, skin rashes can be brought on through direct contact with allergens. They may be mistaken for eczema or hives — though eczema is known to flare up during spring allergy season.

If you notice red patches or itchy eruptions on your skin that look more like swollen welts than bumps, according to Healthline, you're most likely developing hives as a result of contact with pollen.

Symptom #3: Itchy Mouth

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If you are highly sensitive to environmental allergies, take caution when eating foods.

Interestingly, a lot of foods actually "cross-react" with pollens, and can cause symptoms in people with pollen allergies.

For example, fruits like apples, cherries, and melons cross-react with the pollen of birch, elm, and alder trees. Vegetables like carrots and parsnips cross-react with pollen of the mugwort plant.

In most cases, it's totally fine to continue eating these foods, and to stick to your diet. People with pollen allergies have said that they tolerate these foods better when they are cooked, so that's something to consider.

Symptom #4: Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea

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The cross-reactivity of these foods may also cause discomfort and irritation in people who already suffer from disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome.

If you have both environmental allergies, and a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, then it's best to pay more attention to how you consume these foods.

Symptom #5: Moodiness

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It's easy to get emotionally affected by your seasonal allergies.

If you're suffering from overwhelming symptoms and irritations, it's no wonder that your lifestyle will suffer, too.

Those who don't manage to get in enough hours of sleep may become more sluggish, and even moodier during the day.

Kids can also become moody, more hyperactive, and harder to control.

How Can I Soothe My Seasonal Allergies?
Tip #1: Wash Bedding Regularly

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Dr. Nabeel Farooqui, an allergy specialist at Ohio State University, suggests using down or feather bedding, instead of hypoallergenic bedding.

This is because down products are usually "washed thoroughly and stuffed inside very tightly woven casings," whereas synthetic bedding have looser casings that allow more mold, dander, and dust to collect.

In addition to finding the right bedding, it's also crucial to wash it regularly in hot water to stave off dust and other allergens.

Tip #2: Repair Indoor Leaks

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If you are highly sensitive to mold, remember to keep away from things like compost and decaying leaves when you're outside, because they have high levels of mold spores.

But when you're inside the house, beware of moldy spots, as they can aggravate allergy symptoms and asthma.

Look out for any water leaks, and any other sources of moisture, and get them replaced as quickly as possible.

You can easily clean up mold with bleach solution, if it's on a hard surface, but many surfaces like carpets and ceiling tiles will likely need to be replaced.

Tip #3: Take Your Meds Early

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If you are well aware that you suffer from seasonal allergies, it's best to listen to doctors and begin taking your medication at least two weeks before your symptoms usually occur.

These can be nasal and oral antihistamines, eye drops, steroids, or whatever was recommended to you.

Once the spring season sets in, and you feel your nasal passage start to become inflamed, it may be too late for the medical treatments to work fully, according to Dr. Clifford Bassett, M.D.

Tip #4: Sprays And Decongestants

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The direct solution to remedying allergy symptoms is, of course, medicine.

According to WebMD, antihistamines can help reduce symptoms like sneezing and itching; nasal sprays can help relieve congestion and clear clogged noses; and decongestants help shrink the blood vessels in the nasal passageways to reduce swelling and congestion.

Tip #5: Herbs And Supplements

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You can also try out natural and homemade remedies to sooth your allergy reactions.

Herbal remedies, for example, are used in both Western and Eastern traditions. Different teas, roots, and herbs are known to strengthen the immune system, detoxify the liver, and manage allergy-induced stress.

Herbal therapists recommend: the butterbur herb, which is effective at relieving nasal symptoms; the stinging nettle, which is rich in carotene and vitamin K; and grape seed extract. Feel free to consult a list of recommended herb treatments here.

Tip #6: Steam

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Inhaling steam can help flush out mucus, calm irritated airways, and moisten dry nasal passages.

Simply pour boiling water into a bowl, and drape a towel over your head to make a "tent."

Put your head close to the bowl, and inhale deeply through your nose, for about five to 10 minutes.

Tip #7: Limit Pollen Exposure

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As always, be cautious when you step outside. Symptoms worsen on days with stronger wind, which makes pollen disperse faster and wider.

If you have terrible seasonal allergies, remember to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when you're outside.

When you're at home, keep the windows closed, and try not to go outside during the afternoon, when pollen levels are usually at their highest.

When you return home, try to "de-pollen" yourself as much as possible, says Dr. Clifford Bassett. Change clothes before going into your bedroom, and take a shower and wash your hair before going to bed.

Please SHARE these important allergy remedy tips with all friends and family who suffer from allergies!

Here are some more tips for dealing with spring allergies:

Tips For Dealing With Spring Allergies
Tips For Dealing With Spring Allergies

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