Seasonal allergies: Causes, symptoms and treatments!
Published Jun 4, 2023 • By Polina Kochetkova
Seasonal allergies are a widespread problem that affects millions of people each year. As the seasons change, so do the allergens in the air, causing a variety of uncomfortable and even severe symptoms.
Today, we will look at the causes of seasonal allergies, the symptoms they trigger, and the treatments available to ease such allergies.
Whether you experience seasonal allergies discomfort or are simply interested in learning more about this issue, continue reading to discover more about seasonal allergies!
What are seasonal allergies?
Season allergies, also known as Hay fever, are named after the hay-cutting season. Historically, this activity took place during the warmer months, when many people develop symptoms. However, because allergic rhinitis can occur practically all year, it is now referred to as a seasonal allergy.
Seasonal allergies are immune system responses driven by pollen allergens. Pollen is released from the male parts of flowers or male cones. Each grain includes a male gamete capable of fertilizing the female ovule, to which pollen is carried by the wind, insects, or other animals. Permanent allergies, on the other hand, are continuous and include allergies to pets, dust mites, foods, and so on.
Different allergies can occur in different seasons depending on the environmental conditions.
Most seasonal allergies in spring are caused by trees. Pollen from trees such as birch, oak, and cedar can trigger allergy symptoms and have effects on everyday life.
In summer, grass pollen can be a major culprit, leading to similar symptoms. Additionally, mold spores can also be a problem during humid days.
Moving into fall, ragweed pollen is the most common allergen, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
During winter, indoor allergies can become more prevalent as people spend more time indoors. Dust mites, pet dander, and mold can all be problematic during this season.
It is important to identify the specific allergen-causing symptoms and take steps to avoid exposure.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies are triggered by the immune system's response to these airborne allergens, which can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Throat irritation
- Wheezing, tightness in the chest, and dyspnea
- Itch in the ear or blockage in the ear
The severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the individual's sensitivity to the allergens, as well as the amount and type of pollen in the air.
The risk of developing asthma is also increased if the person suffers from hay fever or other allergies. The same elements that produce allergic rhinitis (hay fever) symptoms, such as pollen, dust mites, and animal dander, can also result in asthma symptoms and indicators. Some people may get asthma symptoms as a result of food or skin allergies. This is known as allergic asthma or asthma brought on by allergies. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult a specialist for any type of allergy.
How to treat seasonal allergies?
Avoid possible allergens
There are also several lifestyle changes that can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Allergy UK recommends taking steps to avoid possible allergens, especially during seasons with high pollen counts. These include reducing time outside, keeping windows closed during high pollen count days, and wearing a mask outdoors.
Keep an eye on daily pollen forecasts and, when possible, remain indoors when the count is high (usually on dry, hot days). Pollen levels should be lower on colder, rainy days because rain removes pollen from the air. Although, when pollen concentrations are high, be cautious of strong winds.
Pets, especially dogs and cats, might have pollen on their fur or hair that can be spread when petted or stroked. When your pet is taken out, wipe their coats with a moist microfiber towel to eliminate pollen.
Doing outdoor tasks, like gardening, swimming in open water, hiking, and more, can worsen the symptoms due to high pollen saturation in the air., Therefore, if you plan on doing these activities use a filtering face mask or simply wait until the allergy season is over to carry on.
Additionally, smoking should also be avoided, as it can aggravate hay fever symptoms.
In situations where you are unable to control your allergies, there are alternative options, such as:
Prescription drugs, including steroid nasal sprays, over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines, notably cetirizine (Zyrtec), and combination medications with diphenhydramine, acetaminophen and phenylephrine.
These medications work by blocking the immune response that causes the allergy symptoms.
In severe circumstances, your doctor may advise you to get allergy injections. They are a sort of immunotherapy that can help your immune system desensitize to allergens.
Side effects of several allergy drugs include sleepiness, dizziness, and disorientation.
It is important to note that while seasonal allergies are not usually life-threatening, they can significantly impact a person's quality of life. They can cause fatigue, irritability, and make it difficult to focus on daily tasks. If left untreated, they can also lead to more serious health problems, such as sinus infections and ear infections.
Finally, many people may experience significant discomfort and disruption as the outcome of seasonal allergies. Thankfully it is possible to effectively manage these allergies and enhance one's quality of life, through awareness and understanding.
By exploring the causes, symptoms, and treatments of seasonal allergies, it is possible to improve quality of life, even during seasons when allergies are active. Whether it be through avoiding allergens, taking medication, or seeking medical advice, there are many strategies that can be used to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies.
Ultimately, by taking a proactive approach to managing allergies, individuals can enjoy the changing seasons with greater comfort and ease.
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