With the warmer weather of spring also comes, unfortunately, seasonal allergies. If you are an allergy sufferer, you’ll know how tough they are to deal with, but allergies can be especially hard on your eyes. Read on to find out how and what you can do about it.
Why do we get seasonal allergies?
There are triggers that hang around all year that can aggravate our allergies, such as dust and pet dander, but seasonal allergies usually flare up twice a year – in the spring and the fall. This could mean that twice a year, and possibly for months at a time, you could be dealing with congestion, an itchy nose, mouth, eyes, or throat, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing.
The source of this suffering is trees and grass, which pollinates throughout spring. Ragweed pollinates in the fall. Any allergic reaction is the result of our immune system overreacting to a trigger, in this case, things such as dust, pet dander, and pollen.
How do allergies affect your eyes?
The most common reactions to these seasonal allergens are itchiness, redness, and discharge. These reactions could also be accompanied by a burning sensation, contact lens discomfort, swollen eyelids, and a scratchy or gritty feeling. If you take decongestants, you might experience side effects that affect your eyes, drying them out and making them even more vulnerable to airborne allergens.
How can you prevent and treat allergies?
It can be difficult to get away from allergens, as many are airborne, but you can try to minimize your exposure. Stay indoors, especially on very windy days, when the most allergens are in the air. If you are doing yard work, wear a pollen mask. Avoid using window fans as these could blow pollen and spores into the house. Sunglasses (or just regular glasses) can help shield your eyes from pollen.
If you do suffer an allergy attack, you can alleviate your reaction by drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Keep eye drops on hand to use if your eyes are irritated, especially if your allergy medications dry out your eyes. Try not to wear your contacts for a while and wear glasses instead until you feel better. Contact lenses can make eyes more vulnerable. Finally, try to keep from rubbing your eyes very often, as doing so will only irritate them more.
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