This time of year a lot people will see an increase in their seasonal allergies. Another name for this is called "hay fever." Common allergens include mold, animals, insects, and pollen from trees and grasses. Most seasonal allergies are contracted just by breathing in the air contaminated with the allergens. The body's immune system thinks the allergens are harmful and the body in return produces symptoms. People can develop seasonal allergies at any time in their life, but it is most often when they are younger. Seasonal allergies can also get worse or better as you get older. They are called seasonal because normally you only have them at certain times of the year. However, depending on what you are allergic to sometimes they will occur year round.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies can be easy to handle or can interrupt daily life. Symptoms include: itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, sore throat, plugged ears, post-nasal drip, and stuffy or runny nose. If allergies are severe enough, a specialist may want to do skin testing to see which allergens you are specifically allergic to so that you may be better treated. Skin testing involves making a tiny prick in the skin and then having different substances placed on the skin that you could be allergic to. If allergic, your skin will have a reaction to the substance. The concentrations of the allergens are not potent so the reaction will be controlled.
There are a wide variety of treatments for seasonal allergies. Every person is different and will have better results with different treatments. Generally sinus rinses will help with allergies because it removes the pollen from the nose. Other commonly used medications include nose sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, or allergy shots. Treatment will depend on your specific symptoms. If you have seasonal allergies you can talk with your provider about which treatment or treatments they feel would be best for you. Certain medical conditions will make a difference on which medications you can try for seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies can be reduced by a few simple methods. Trying to stay inside the times of year when you have increased symptoms can lessen your exposure to allergens. Wear a mask when you are outside for long periods of time. Lastly, taking a shower before bed to remove any excess pollen from your hair and skin can reduce your allergen exposure time.
Seasonal allergies can be managed so that you can still enjoy being outdoors and soak up the sunshine this spring and summer.