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Pollen and Lung Disease

As the Spring Season approaches, those suffering from the irritants of pollen and lung disease, may not enjoy the warming of the weather and enjoy being outside.

Many people believe that the pollen in the air irritates their sinuses. However, that’s not exactly how it works. Histamines are chemicals in your body that, when released, cause your sinuses to open up, as a defense mechanism of the immune system, to fight off a foreign irritant. For those allergic to pollen, the immune system overreacts and causes excessive congestion and opens the ducts on the nose and eyes in attempt to keep the pollen out. The symptoms of this excessive reaction include:

· Runny nose

· Itchy or watery eyes

· Congestion of the nasal cavity

· Tension headache

· Sneezing and coughing

· Swollen airways

What is an Antihistamine?

It’s not uncommon to think that an antihistamine is used to fight the pollen that enters your body, but that’s untrue. An antihistamine is actually designed to fight your body. With the immune system overacting and producing an abundant amount of histamine, the introduction of the antihistamine is designed to stop this overreacting. So in essence, the antihistamine’s job is to fight your body and stop it from causing the symptoms of your allergies.

Pollen and Lung Disease

For those suffering from a lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD), adding the above symptoms to those already present with a chronic lung disease can be very painful.

These people already have trouble breathing, and their lungs cannot properly use the little air they can take in. When a runny nose hits or a coughing bout ensues, your ability to properly breathe and then extract the oxygen out of that air is compromised. This can lead to a low blood oxygen level and possibly even a state of hypoxia.

Be sure to see your physician during the spring to make sure your taking the right medication and see if your blood oxygen levels are where then need to be.

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