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Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Oftentimes, hay fever is referred to as an allergic reaction (allergic rhinitis) that occurs during a specific season. It is likely that you are among that number who have been affected by seasonal allergies. If you are among those people, you know exactly how uncomfortable it can be to have to endure weeks of sneezing and dirty noses when spring and fall come around. 

Wintertime is a less common time for seasonal allergies, but allergic rhinitis can happen at any period of the year. At various periods of the year, many plants release their own pollen. You could suffer hay fever throughout more than one season, depending on your allergy triggers and the climate where you reside. Additionally, indoor allergens like mold or pet dander might cause a reaction in you. The good news is that there are several treatment choices that help reduce symptoms, despite the fact that allergies can be quite uncomfortable. 

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Allergies are the immune system’s response to a foreign protein. These proteins, or allergens, are often benign. The immune system in your body overreacts when a certain protein is present in your body if you are allergic to it. During specific periods of the year, trees, grasses, and weeds release small pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants, which is often when these allergy symptoms occur.

There are several types of seasonal allergies where some people who are allergic to pollen experience chemical releases into the circulation, including histamine, as their immune systems see these particles, which are referred to as allergens, as intruders. These substances are released, which results in allergic symptoms. One or more kinds of pollen can cause allergies in people. Depending on the type to which a person is allergic, symptoms might occur/develop at any moment.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergy

The symptoms of allergies might differ from individual to person. While some people may only have minor symptoms, others may experience several allergic reactions. Following below are some of the symptoms related to seasonal allergies: 

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Wet and itchy eyes
  • Ear congestion
  • Postnasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Coughing 
  • wheezing

 Although the symptoms of seasonal allergies often resemble those of a cold, they are more persistent than a regular week-long cold. People who suffer from hay fever may also suffer from asthma. Asthma attacks might be brought on by seasonal allergens if you already have hay fever.

Causes of Seasonal Allergies

Allergies develop when your immune system misidentifies a normally innocuous airborne component as dangerous. When exposed to certain compounds, or allergens, your body reacts by releasing histamines and other chemicals into your system. 

Pollen or mold spores that float in the air during particular seasons might cause seasonal allergies. Typically, trees, weeds, and grasses produce the pollen that triggers allergies. Birch, cedar, elm, maple, and oak are among the common trees that cause allergies. The plant’s ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed, lamb’s quarters, and tumbleweed are frequently known for creating allergens.

Despite the fact that pollen is safe on its own, many people’s systems react negatively to it, mistaking it for an allergy or an impending threat to their health. Sometimes genetics can play a role in whether or not you develop seasonal allergies. As a result, you are likely to have allergies if someone near you does.

Diagnosis of Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are diagnosed based on symptoms as well as environmental factors, such as whether they are seasonal in nature. Doctors can use this information to determine the allergen.

seasonal allergy diagnosisIn most cases, no testing is required, but on rare occasions, the nasal discharge is analyzed to check if it includes eosinophils (a type of white blood cell produced in large numbers during an allergic reaction). Below are the types of allergen tests done for identifying if a person has allergies 

  • Skin tests: A little quantity of a possible allergen is injected by the doctor after pricking the skin, often on the upper arm. If an allergy occurs, the skin will react by swelling, becoming red, and becoming inflamed; this may be uncomfortable at first. Skin tests produce quick findings, often in a half-hour or between 24 and 48 hours.
  • Blood tests: Blood is taken and submitted to a lab. The drawback is that it can take a few days for the findings to be available. Blood tests are used to diagnose seasonal and perennial allergies, as well as allergies to food, drugs, and insect bites or stings. Blood testing may screen for more allergens than skin tests can. Blood tests are advised over skin testing if you have a persistent skin problem like psoriasis or eczema to prevent additional discomfort.

Treatments for Seasonal allergies 

The best treatment for allergic rhinitis and hay fever is to stay away from the allergens that make you feel sick. Additionally, there are medications for hay fever symptoms. Others experiment with complementary therapies.

  • Avoiding allergens: Your doctor will advise you on how to find and stay away from your allergy triggers. Generally speaking, this is the most crucial step in minimizing allergic responses and alleviating symptoms.
  • Medications: Medication can help lessen immune system reactivity and alleviate symptoms, depending on the allergy. Your doctor may advise using over-the-counter or prescription tablets, liquids, nasal sprays, or eye drops.
  • Immunotherapy: Your doctor could suggest allergen immunotherapy if your allergies are severe or if previous treatments aren’t totally alleviating them. Purified allergen extracts are administered through injection over the course of several years as part of this therapy. A sublingual pill is another type of immunotherapy that is taken until it dissolves under the tongue. Sublingual medicines are employed to treat specific pollen allergies.
  • Emergency epinephrine: If you have a severe allergy, you may need to carry an adrenaline injection with you at all times. An epinephrine injection (Auvi-Q, EpiPen, and others), given for severe allergic reactions, can lessen symptoms until you receive emergency care.

Simple precautions may be taken in the event of minor symptoms, such as utilizing air purifiers, remaining indoors, covering the windows, using a mask or scarf while going outside, etc. The best way to manage allergic rhinitis, which occurs throughout the year, is to limit your exposure to allergens.

Helpful – Autoimmune Diseases: Types, Causes & Treatment

Bottom Line

 Seasonal allergies may be painful and unpleasant. While many of them may be avoided, it never hurts to come and get advice from a professional. They can help map out the best course of action and highlight practical measures that can help reduce the allergy and offer relief. While there may not be a permanent cure for many allergies, they can be controlled by taking the recommended drugs or using appropriate home treatments.

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