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Why Are You Sniffing and Sneezing so Much? Ragweed Season Is Here

It’s that time again. Your nose itches. Your throat feels dry. And then you start sneezing and run for the tissues because it feels like someone turned on a faucet inside your nostrils. Allergies are a plague for many, especially this time of year when ragweed is in bloom. Also known as hay fever, your suffering will probably last through mid-October. Dayton Daily News explains that one of the best ways to keep this from happening at home is to pull the weed before it blooms. Otherwise, antihistamines or even a visit to an allergy doctor will be part of your life during the coming weeks.

Nearly 50 million people in America suffer from seasonal allergies, with fall and spring being the two seasons that cause the most problems. While over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines can relieve your symptoms — provided you read labels carefully and choose the right drug for the symptoms — these same allergy “solutions” can also increase your risk of side effects.

To know what it is you’re treating, you first need to understand what it is you’re allergic to, and how the body’s allergic immune response works. Basically, an allergen provokes proteins called cytokines in your system, which causes the cytokines to be released, which then triggers serious inflammation in your body. This inflammation, in turn, causes a variety of responses, including the classic runny, itchy nose and sneezing.

Some people go through painful, costly allergy tests to determine exactly what allergens they’re most sensitive to. But several symptoms occurring on a regular basis during certain months of the year can also signal that what you’re allergic to is probably something that’s blooming outside. And, whether it’s a rash or sneezing, many of the symptoms are caused by something called histamine overload, which can lead to other symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, migraines and even a rapid heartbeat.

Unfortunately, your body isn’t equipped to deal with excess histamine, so it’s important to address the triggers before you get to the point of having a reaction. If you suspect it’s a food allergy, an elimination diet, where you eliminate all the suspects and then reintroduce one food at a time, can help.

If it’s something in the air, you can reduce your exposure by avoiding clothing made of synthetic fabrics, going outside only in the mornings or at night when pollen levels are lowest and wearing a surgical mask. Nature also provides a number of compounds that can block allergy symptoms, such as quercetin, bromelain, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), butterbur, goldenseal, eucalyptus oil, vitamin C and green tea.

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