Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, affect millions of people worldwide. Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to allergens, such as pollen, dust, and animal dander. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of seasonal allergies.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are a type of allergic reaction that occurs during specific times of the year. This is typically during the spring, summer, or fall, when plants release pollen into the air. Pollen is a common allergen that can cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Seasonal allergies are different from perennial allergies, which occur year-round and are often caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold.
Causes of Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens in the environment. When the body comes into contact with an allergen, it produces histamine, a chemical that triggers the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
The most common allergen that causes seasonal allergies is pollen. Pollen is released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds, and can travel for miles. Other common allergens include mold spores and dust mites.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
The symptoms of seasonal allergies can vary from person to person, but typically include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Postnasal drip
Treatment of Seasonal Allergies
There are several treatment options for seasonal allergies, including allergy medications, home remedies, and immunotherapy.
Antihistamines are the most commonly used medication for seasonal allergies. They work by blocking the effects of histamine, which reduces the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Other allergy medications include nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, and eye drops.
Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
There are several home remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies, including:
- Saline nasal rinses
- Steam inhalation
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Using a humidifier
Coping with Seasonal Allergies
In addition to medication and home remedies, there are several things you can do to cope with seasonal allergies, including:
- Staying indoors during high pollen counts
- Keeping windows closed
- Taking a shower after being outdoors
- Changing clothes after being outdoors
- Using air filters in your home
- Keeping pets out of bedrooms
- Washing bedding frequently
- Vacuuming and dusting regularly
Immunotherapy Allergy Treatment
Immunotherapy is a treatment that involves exposing the immune system to small amounts of an allergen over time. This can help desensitize the immune system and reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
Immunotherapy is typically administered through allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which involves placing a tablet or liquid under the tongue.
When to See a Doctor about Allergies
If your symptoms are severe or persistent, it is important to see a doctor. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.
You should also seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, as these may be signs of a severe allergic reaction.
Common Myths About Seasonal Allergies
There are several myths about seasonal allergies that are not true, including:
- You can outgrow allergies
- Eating local honey can cure allergies
- Allergies only affect the respiratory system
- Allergy shots are painful and dangerous
Seasonal allergies can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but there are several treatment options available. If you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies, it is important to speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action.
Contact Citra Urgent Care today at 844.585.3544 with questions or locate a clinic near you and walk-in. Appointments are also available and are easy to book online.