Ahhhchoo! The Misery of Spring Allergies   

Ahhhchoo! The Misery of Spring Allergies  In Mexico 

Tara A. Spears

Ah springtime!  Smell the blossoms in the air-ah choo! With the longer, warmer days most people revil in the sun and enjoy being outdoors as much as they can. For those with pollen allergies (often called hay fever) each deep breath outdoors hastens the onset of misery. When a person with allergic rhinitis is exposed to pollen, the body releases chemicals, including histamine, which causes allergy symptoms.

The plants that cause seasonal allergy/hay fever are trees, grasses and weeds. Pollen is carried by the wind. (Pollen from flowers is carried by insects and does not cause hay fever.) It’s no surprise that the amount of pollen in the air directly affects the development of allergy symptoms.

The month of March in coastal Mexico has hundreds of different species of pollen producing trees and plants in full bloom as well as being towards the end of the long dry season so you can add dust to list of aggravators.  Warm, dry and windy days are more likely to have a lot of pollen in the air as on cold, humid and rainy days, most pollen goes to the ground.

Allergies occur when the immune system detects some substances as dangerous to the body even if they are not and is activated, producing different effects. Some reactions are mild such as itching, redness, vomiting, asthma, nasal irritation or eye discomfort, but other reactions are stronger such as dizziness, palpitations or respiratory failure, even becoming very serious with a whole body reaction.

  Dr. Martin Becerril Ángeles, head of the Allergy and Immunology Service of the Hospital of Specialties Medical Center National La Raza, and member of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) said, “Once an individual develops sensitivity to a particular pollen, the negative effects can last for weeks.” Dr. Becerril added, “It is essential that indoor and garden plants and flowers should be handled properly so as not to trigger diseases such as allergic conjunctivitis (eye redness and tearing on contact with an allergen or substance that the organism ), Allergic rhinitis (nasal discharge and sneezing) or asthma (shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough).

It should be noted that other substances that can trigger manifestations of this type are present in plants and fruits as common as geranium, rue, fig, mango, celery, parsley, palm, and castor bean. People with allergies should know that respiratory allergies can also be triggered by the soil where plants grow, as the soil can grow microscopic fungi to which the organism is sensitized and generates exaggerated defense reaction. “                    

Don’t let pollen allergies ruin your vacation.  There are several remedies that can ease your symptoms.  While the best treatment is to avoid the pollutants that cause the symptoms, living in a warm climate jungle makes it impossible to avoid all pollen, but you can often take steps to reduce exposure.  I compromise by closing the windows at night and running an air filter.

Fortunately, there are many over the counter allergy medicines that treat allergic rhinitis. The medication your doctor prescribes depends on the type and severity of the symptoms.  Local physician, Dr. Lidia Ana Flores suggests loratadina tablets and using a nasal spray. You can buy a saline solution at a pharmacy or you can make one at home using 1 cup (240 mL) of hot water, half a teaspoon (3 g) of salt and a pinch of baking soda.

If you are able to experience a warm ocean breeze while watching a dazzling sunset, consider it to be one of life’s pleasures.  Don’t stay up north or indoors this spring- just bring a box of tissues!