Allergy season can mean slightly different things to different people. It could be most or all of the spring months for some, and just the beginning or just the end for others. But either way, it can really take the joy out of the end of winter and the onset of the warmer months, when non-allergy sufferers are venturing outside for barbeques and outdoor sports.
You may have even recently developed an allergy that you've never had before. Allergies can often come in later in life at any age, but more commonly after the age of 50. You and your doctor might have discovered that coming in contact with animal dander makes you break out in hives, or the pollen from certain trees and grasses in the spring give you a runny nose. If this is the case, you're not alone. It's been recorded that over half of the US population is allergic to at least one common allergen.
What causes allergies? It's not completely understood why the human body can identify something as otherwise harmless as a tiny pollen spore, as something that it needs to attack and rid the body of. An allergy is just your immune system's over reaction to something foreign coming in contact with your skin, or with the membranes of your nose if you happen to breathe it in.
Your immune system causes the contacted area to become inflamed, causing a rush of white blood cells to attach to the foreign bodies. All of these immune system functions and white blood cells coming together cause you to be come irritated, with itchy nose and eyes, itchy skin, and a runny or stuff nose, known as allergic rhinitis. Your body thinks its doing its job, while to you, it's just being more of a nuisance!
Seasonal allergies can also vary from region to region, because of the plants and trees that grow in certain areas as opposed to others. Here are the names of the trees, weeds and grasses in the Denver region that cause allergies for many people during the Spring months:
Box Elder, Ash-Leaf Maple, Crack Willow, Gambel's Oak, Narrow-Leaf Willow, Purple Willow, Western Poison-Ivy, Weeds.
Annual Ragweed, Deer-Root, Four-Wing Saltbush, Great Ragweed , Silverscale, Skeleton-Leaf Burr-Ragweed, Wedge-Leaf Orache, White Sagebrush.
Grasses: Bermuda Grass, Common Timothy, Orchard Grass, Red Fescue, Spreading Bent.
Allergies are usually pretty easy to treat once it's been identified that you have them. Your doctor will prescribe a good antihistime that will prevent your immune system from kicking into high gear on the allergens, and even something that will relieve the inflammation and dry up the mucus in your sinuses. These allergy pills usually offer 24 hour relief, but you should try to take them at night, so it will be in full effect by early morning, when allergies can be at their worst.