Sneak Attack(花粉症予防)

TIMEの2012年4月23日号のHealth&Science のコーナーからAllergy season has blossomed early this year by Alice Park(「アレルギーのシーズンが今年は早くも到来」)を取り上げます。

Ah, spring. The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and this year the bounty of nature has flourished even earlier than usual. What’s not to love? 

Allergies, of course—especially tree-pollen allergies. More than half of the 40% of Americans who have seasonal allergies are sensitive to the dusting of pollen that trees discharge as they emerge from their winter hibernation.

Timing matters because for many allergy sufferers, treatment works best when it precedes the first encounter with pollen particles.

Since pollen counts tend to peak in April, most people don’t seek prescriptions for medications—like the nasal steroid sprays that prime the body to ward off the inflammation and allergy symptoms that pollen triggers—until March.

There isn’t much you can do about the pollen, but allergy sufferers can lessen symptoms by keeping windows closed, avoiding tree-filled areas and using allergy medications regularly.