The Sneeze Of Spring

Misery loves company among allergy sufferers

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Puffs of orange dust move lazily up into the air as soon as the warm spring sunshine hits the pollinated buds on the junipers. Drifting like smoke on the breeze, juniper pollen helps give Payson some of the highest pollen counts in the country at certain times of the year — and ushers in the misery of allergy season.

Unfortunately, junipers aren’t the only plant blooming right now. Other spring-budders spawn those sniffy noses and itchy eyes, including Manzanita bushes, oak trees, cedar and springtime grasses.

This year has been especially rough on people with allergies, thanks to a decently wet winter that has enabled the junipers and others to produce an exuberant amount of pollen.

Allergy sufferers have limited options. Some simply suffer. Some try to suppress the symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, which become less effective as the body adapts to the drugs. Fortunately, doctors and local stores offer some helpful treatments.

For more mild cases, one of the best options is using the same method nature employs to produce abundant pollen: water. Drinking water not only helps the body constantly flush out foreign elements, but it also sustains the immune system and lessens the chance of secondary infections. Similar options include limiting the diet to raw fruits and vegetables to keep the body in prime condition.

Secondly, the severe allergies in Payson can empty out shelves at the local health food stores, which offer many homeopathic remedies. That includes pills and diet supplements intended to reduce the over-reaction of the immune system that causes allergies. For some, using Neti Pots can help clear out clogged sinuses.

B.J. Madden, owner of Vita-mart, explained the benefits of a particular natural method he offers “…a homeopathic remedy… it doesn’t have any reaction if you’re taking prescription drugs… it doesn’t have any side effects.”

Thirdly, local physician Dr. Alan Michels promotes a particular therapy that is dependent on a “patient’s insurance coverage of the medications.”

“It [the therapy] specifically is nasal steroids and antihistamine spray for the nose and/or antihistamine drops for the eyes,” said Michels.

By using a combination of nasal spray and antihistamine, an individual can treat the area most affected instead of relying on pills that affect the whole body.

“The best therapies to try for allergies are the ones that treat the least amount in your overall body,” said Michels.

Michels said allergies can develop over a period of years. Often, they indicate an individual is suffering from dietary issues or reacting to other commonly used treatments. Someone can have environmental allergies, allergies to food and even to household products. Controlling the allergies often starts with determining the main source of the symptoms. Lab tests can often pin down that cause.

So, here are some tips for minimizing the misery of a sunny spring day:

• Pollen counts peak in the late morning, especially when the breeze picks up.

• Treat allergies by first taking care of your body, targeting the source and treating the specific area affected.

• Remember, those junipers will quit blooming eventually.

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