Spring is the season when the trees start to bloom and allergy sufferers begin their annual ritual of sniffling, watery and itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing. Although there is no magical cure for spring allergies, there are a number of ways to combat them.

The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. These are tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. Pollen grains, which can travel for miles, can send the immune system of an allergy sufferer into overdrive. Symptoms from pollen tend to be particularly high on breezy days, when the wind picks it up and carries it through the air. Rainy days, meanwhile, cause a drop in the pollen counts because the rain washes away the allergens.

Airborne allergens can also trigger asthma, a condition in which the airways narrow, making breathing difficult and leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Doctors treat spring allergies with over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. OTC allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants and eye drops. If these don’t work, prescription meds, allergy shots, or even oral/sublingual immunotherapy might be prescribed.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com