If you find yourself saying “bless you” more often these days, that’s because hay fever season is here. Hay fever season begins in the spring and runs through the fall, with ragweed being one of the major culprits.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, approximately 7.8 percent of people in the United States age 18 and older have hay fever. Also known as allergic rhinitis and caused by an allergic response to airborne substances, its symptoms are primarily felt in the nose and eyes. There is no hay or fever involved, just the result of the body’s reaction to the presence of allergens, foreign particles such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores and pet dander.

For relief, decongestants provide relief for nasal congestion, while antihistamines help with runny noses, sneezing and itchy eyes. However, people with heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, prostate problems or pregnant and nursing women should consult their doctor before taking any of these medications.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.