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Foods to Prevent Spring Allergies

Submitted by Stella Morgan on July 20, 2010

Spring allergies are a very common occurrence. The symptoms of spring allergies include persistent sneezing, itchiness of the eyes, nasal discharge and nasal congestion. This is also referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Hay fever is essentially an allergic reaction which occurs when the immune system of the body reacts to foreign agents that enter the system through the air. The most common allergens are pollen and molds. These substances enter the mouth, nose, throat and lungs through the air we breathe.

The linings of the eyes and the ears may also come in contact with the allergens. In most cases, it is difficult to determine the specific irritant that causes the reaction. When the allergens enter the airways, the white blood cells in the body start producing antibodies.

This exaggerated reaction to relatively harmless material is known as a hypersensitivity reaction. The antibodies are present in cells called mast cells. When the antibodies make contact with the specific antigen, they trigger the release of hormones and chemicals known as mediators.

An example of one such mediator is histamine. The mediators produce effects on the cells and organs of the body, resulting in the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The most common trigger for hay fever is pollen.

Pollen from certain weeds, grasses and trees such as ragweed are most likely to trigger allergic reactions. Pollination could take place either during spring, late summer or early fall. It is during these times that hay fever is most common. Other common allergens include molds which are usually present in the environment throughout the year. Spring allergies are more common in people with a family history of the condition. Repeated exposure to the specific allergen is also more likely to result in an allergic reaction. The susceptibility to spring allergies is also high when the individual already suffers from other allergic conditions like asthma or eczema.

Those affected by spring allergies should avoid foods such as nuts, wheat and dairy as these are more difficult for the body to digest. These foods cause the body to remain in a defensive mode and hence exert strain on the immune system. As a result, the immune system is not fully equipped to fight the allergens that enter the body. Ginger is a good addition to the diet as it helps to prevent inflammation. Milk and dairy products may cause a thickening of the nasal discharge and lead to increased stuffiness and congestion of the nasal passage.
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