What are seasonal allergies?
For many people with seasonal allergies, springtime means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other some bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies (also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis) can make you uncomfortable.
Seasonal allergies are less common during the winter, but it’s possible to experience this condition year-round. Different plants emit their respective pollens at different times of the year. Depending on your allergy triggers and where you live, you may experience hay fever in more than one season. You may also react to indoor allergens, such as mold or pet dander.
How common are seasonal allergies?
Worldwide, seasonal allergies affect between 10% and 30% of the population. However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?
The signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies classify from mild to severe. The most popular may include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
- Ear congestion
- Postnasal drainage
Some other less popular symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
It is relevant that many people with hay fever can also have asthma. If you have both hay fever and asthma, your seasonal allergens may trigger an asthma attack.
When should I see my doctor?
Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies happen when your immune system identifies an airborne substance that’s considered as harmless and dangerous. It creates a response to that substance, or allergen, by releasing some substances, known as histamines and other chemicals into your bloodstream. Those chemicals produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Several common allergens of seasonal allergies can vary from one season to another.
- Spring: It is believed that trees are responsible for most springtime seasonal allergies.
- Summer: The real culprits of summertime seasonal allergies are grasses. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, grasses are the most common trigger for people with hay fever.
- Fall: Autumn is ragweed season. Their pollen is a very popular allergen, and the symptoms of ragweed allergy can be especially severe.
- Winter: By winter, most outdoor allergens are dormant. As a result, cold weather brings relief to many people with seasonal.
Some indoor allergens are often easier to remove from your environment than outdoor pollens.
What increases my risk for seasonal allergies?
If your parents experience the seasonal allergies, you may have a high risk to get this condition.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How are seasonal allergies diagnosed?
Seasonal allergy is usually easier to diagnose than other allergies. If you experience allergic symptoms that only occur at certain times of the year, it is a typical sign that you have seasonal allergies.
Your doctor may also examine your ears, nose, and throat to make a diagnosis. Allergy testing usually isn’t necessary. Your treatment for allergic rhinitis will likely be the same, no matter what type of allergen you react to.
How are seasonal allergies treated?
The best medicine for seasonal allergies is avoidance. Medications are also highly recommended to treat symptoms of hay fever. Some people also now try alternative treatments.
At times of year when your hay fever is active:
- Keep your windows shut
- Limit your time outdoors
- Consider wearing a dust mask when you’re outside, especially on windy days
- It’s also important to avoid cigarette smoke, which can aggravate hay fever symptoms.
When you can’t prevent your allergens, other treatments are available, including:
- Over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines
- Such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and combinations of acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, and phenylephrine (Benadryl) are ordered.
- Prescription medications, such as steroid nasal sprays
- In severe cases, your doctor may recommend allergy shots. They are a type of immunotherapy that can help desensitize your immune system to allergens.
However, some medications may have unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Some people believe the following alternative treatments may provide relieve:
- Quercetin, a flavonoid that gives fruits and vegetables color
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, the “friendly” bacteria found in yogurt
- Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae
- Vitamin C, which has some antihistamine properties
And more research should be needed to learn if these alternative treatments are effective.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage seasonal allergies?
Reducing the risk of seasonal allergies is highly recommended. These some useful tips may help you to prevent this condition:
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
- Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
- Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Don’t hang laundry outside – pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
- Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Seasonal allergies. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343?pg=1. Accessed Mar 12, 2017.
Seasonal allergies. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/seasonal-allergies#Takeaway6. Accessed Mar 12, 2017.
Seasonal allergies. http://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies. Accessed Mar 12, 2017.
Review Date: April 16, 2017 | Last Modified: April 16, 2017