Seasonal Allergies

Have you ever wondered why you always seem to have a cold at the same time every year? Did you notice that your cold gets worse when you are outdoors, but the moment you go inside, your cold stops?

Seasonal allergies can be extremely bothersome, tiring, and even quite embarrassing with all the sniffles and sneezing. But there is no reason to feel embarrassed because you are not the only one suffering from allergies to airborne substances.

Which airborne allergen is attributed to which season?

Pollens from certain trees, grasses, and weeds are light enough to be carried away by the wind and find its way into our bodies when we inhale.

All over the world, many people manifest the same symptoms when exposed to airborne substances at different times of the year (either in spring, summer, or fall), depending on what they are allergic to.

In the spring, from January until April, trees are pollinating, so take extra care in reducing your exposure to tree pollen. These types of trees are known to produce allergenic pollens: oak, ash, elm, hickory, pecan, box elder, and mountain cedar.

In the summer, from May until August, the warm temperatures and the green pollinating grass are causes of allergies. Common allergenic grasses include: timothy grass Bermuda grass, redtop grass, orchard grass and sweet vernal grass. Since the weather is warm, even molds can thrive.

In the fall, from August until November, the abundance of weed pollen is no reason to celebrate. The nights are cool and breezy, but these are perfect times for pollen particles to be blown in from miles away. One of the most common weed pollen allergens is ragweed.

What happens if you have a seasonal allergy?

Your seasonal sniffles and sneezing is actually a case of seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. When you have hay fever, your wheezing and sneezing gets worse when you are outdoors because you are exposed to millions of microscopic airborne pollens. You will experience nasal congestion and nasal discharge. Your eyes will start to itch, water, and puff all around. There might be allergic shiners, or dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses. Conjunctivitis can also develop, together with postnasal drip, mental dullness, and fatigue. A sore throat can also develop that can lead to hoarseness and loss of voice.

Seasonal allergies can get worse and result in asthma attacks, conjunctivitis, and bronchitis.

What are the best ways to reduce seasonal allergies?

To reduce exposure to airborne allergens, you can do the following:
1. Keep your windows closed and use air-conditioning inside your home and your car.
2. Shower before going to bed to get rid of collected pollens on your skin and hair.
3. Dry your clothes indoors, because if left to dry outside, pollens can easily attach itself to the fabrics.
4. When working outdoors, wear a filter mask.
5. Pets can also collect pollens from outside so try to keep them out of your bedroom and off the furniture.

Seasonal allergies can be relieved by taking over-the-counter medicines, prescription antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays. However, these only offer temporary relief. For those with severe allergies, they should try taking allergy shots, or undergo an immunotherapy procedure.

It is best to get professional advice, so schedule an appointment with your doctor right away before the next season’s allergies act up.

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