Why are seasonal allergies so common in the spring?
Spring is a time for celebration in many parts of the world where snow and slippery ice give way to sunshine and blooming flowers. I’m as excited as the next person for warmer weather, but there’s an aspect of spring that I dread. That’s right, allergies. Spring means sunshine, but it also means pollen, dust, dander, and other allergens that fill the air and my nostrils.
Seasonal allergies are a natural result of the body’s immune system responding to airborne irritants, more commonly known as allergens. Read here about what probiotics are best for coping with seasonal allergies. Most people are aware that spring allergies are caused by these allergens, but many don’t realize just how prevalent they are and why. You don’t need to be standing close to a flower to be exposed to pollen. Trees, weeds, flowers, and grasses all releasing pollen that can lead to allergic reactions. These pollens can travel for several miles thanks to the wind, so even if you’re not directly next to plants producing pollen aplenty, you could still be inhaling it from plants a few miles away.
Why do these allergens give me a runny nose and make me sneeze?
Allergic reactions from allergens are a result of your body releasing histamines, which are chemical compounds that boost blood flow in areas that allergens have affected. This leads to inflammation in the affected area, which manifests differently depending on where it happens. Inflammation in the throat can lead to coughing. Inflammation in the eyes can lead to itchiness, and in the nose, it can lead to sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose. This all sounds very annoying, and it definitely is, but it’s important because inflammation in the body is a signal for the immune system to come to the rescue and address the problem.
The reason your body reacts so strongly to harmless allergens like pollen is because it has identified them as a foreign substance that is potentially dangerous. Your body doesn’t realize that the pollen is not dangerous. It only knows that there’s something there that’s not supposed to be there, so it reacts (and often overreacts) to allergens in order to flush them out of the body as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How do allergy medications help seasonal allergies?
Allergy medications can help with allergies in several ways. The most common allergy medications are antihistamines. As the name suggests, these medications aim to slow or stop the release of histamine in the body as a reaction to common spring allergens. Antihistamines come in a variety of forms including pills, liquids, nasal sprays, and eyedrops.
Corticosteroids aim to reduce inflammation caused by histamine release in the body. Inhalers are the most common mechanism for delivering corticosteroids, but they can also appear as pills, liquids, eye drops, and nasal sprays.
Decongestants help nasal symptoms by temporarily alleviating sinus congestion. They can be found as pills, liquids, and nasal sprays. These are the three most common types of allergy medications, but there are several less common allergy medications used for more specific or sometimes severe allergy symptoms.
What are the downsides of allergy medications?
Medications can be good solutions to seasonal allergies for some, but they may not be the best choice for everyone. Some people find allergy medications to have little effect on their allergy symptoms. In fact, a national survey showed that over a third of those suffering from allergies changed their nasal allergy medicines at least once over the course of a few years because they didn’t find them effective.
Others find allergy medications to be effective, but the side effects are so severe that they aren’t worthwhile tradeoffs for the benefits they provide. Antihistamines can cause a variety of side effects depending on the type you take, including drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, joint pain, constipation, nausea, and more. Decongestants can lead to increased blood pressure, headaches, and sleep issues.
Corticosteroids can have a range of side effects depending on the form. Nasal sprays can lead to nasal irritation and nosebleeds, skin creams can cause skin discoloration and irritation, and inhalers can lead to throat irritation.
Probiotics and Allergies
Probiotics are worth considering for those looking for other options to deal with seasonal allergies. They do not have similar side effects to common allergy medication, and they have been shown to help with allergies in a variety of ways that are mechanically different from allergy medications. As a result, probiotics may be able to help in cases where allergy medications prove insufficient.
Probiotics can help with allergies by improving gut health. Gut health is closely tied to immune health because nearly 70 percent of your immune system is in or around the gut. The balance of bacteria in the gut and the health of the intestinal lining strongly impacts what foreign substances can cross through to the bloodstream. A healthier gut means fewer foreign substances that need to be addressed by the immune system, and thus more attention and immune cells that can be allocated to seasonal allergy symptoms.
Some probiotic strains have also been shown to have a more direct impact on seasonal allergies. For example, B. bifidum has antihistamine properties, so a gut filled with a healthy number of B. bifidum is more likely to have less severe allergic reactions when histamine is released into the body.
Can I take allergy medication and probiotics at the same time?
First things first: Always check with your doctor before adding a new element to your medication plan, even when it comes to non-drug substances like probiotics.
As for the question, yes. You can take allergy medication and probiotics at the same time. Probiotics typically have very mild side effects that amount to bloating or gas, and because they are not drugs, they do not function in ways that could lead to dangerous interactions when mixed with other drugs.
In fact, taking allergy medication and probiotics simultaneously may be one of the best plans when it comes to addressing allergies with current scientific knowledge. Studies have shown that probiotics can have some very positive effects when it comes to addressing allergies, but this is a relatively new area of research. There isn’t enough data to show that probiotics could outright replace traditional allergy medications, but they can complement them in ways that do not overlap with allergy medication mechanisms. They can also improve your gut and immune health so that your body is better equipped to deal with both the effects and the side effects of allergy medications.
What’s a good probiotic to take alongside my allergy medication?
Probonix contains a great variety of probiotic strains to help with seasonal allergy symptoms. It has many strains that have been shown to help with allergies, including B. bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. helveticus, B. breve, and S. thermophilus.
Probonix provides your gut with up to 12 strains of probiotics that are scientifically proven to make it to your gut alive. Probonix can give your gut the tools it needs to help keep your allergies at bay and let you enjoy the warm, sunny weather.