What are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies, also called allergic rhinitis or hay fever, are reactions to airborne pollens and mold spores. Seasonal allergies can occur at any age, but are most common in children and young adults. Seasonal allergies are distinguished from other types of allergies, such as pet allergies or food allergies, by their timing. Seasonal allergies typically begin in the spring and continue through the summer and fall seasons.
What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies?
The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
– Runny nose
– Nasal congestion
– Itchy eyes
– Watery eyes
– Itchy throat
Less common symptoms include:
– Ear congestion
– Difficulty breathing (wheezing)
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to airborne pollens and mold spores. When these particles are inhaled, they come into contact with cells in the nose and throat that release histamine and other chemicals. This causes the familiar symptoms of sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
Who is at Risk for Seasonal Allergies?
Anyone can develop seasonal allergies, but there are some risk factors that may make a person more likely to experience them. These include:
– Age: Seasonal allergies are most common in children and young adults, but they can occur at any age.
– Family history: Seasonal allergies are more common in people who have a family history of allergies, such as hay fever or asthma.
– Exposure to allergens: People who live in areas with high levels of airborne pollen and mold spores are more likely to develop seasonal allergies.
– Other medical conditions: Seasonal allergies are more common in people who have other medical conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
How are Seasonal Allergies Diagnosed?
Seasonal allergies are usually diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam may also be done to look for signs of allergic reactions, such as nasal congestion or swelling.
How are Seasonal Allergies treated?
There are a number of ways to treat seasonal allergies. The most common approach is to use over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve symptoms. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroid nasal sprays. Some people also find relief with home remedies, such as saline nasal rinses or steam inhalation. allergy shots may also be an option for people who do not respond well to other treatments.
How can Seasonal Allergies be Prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent seasonal allergies, but there are some things that may help reduce your exposure to allergens. These include:
– Staying indoors on days when pollen levels are high
– Wearing a dust mask or respirator when outdoors
– Avoiding lawn work and other activities that stir up pollen
– Keeping windows and doors closed
– Using an air purifier in your home
– Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen
– Showering and changing clothes after being outdoors
– Avoiding areas where pollen levels are high, such as fields or woods
– Checking pollen counts and weather reports for your area.