Seasonal Allergy Information
What's the Difference Between a Seasonal Allergy vs a Non-Seasonal Allergies?
- A seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for a season during the year, such as spring or fall. This type of allergy refers to a pollen allergy, such as trees, weeds and grasses. Perennial allergies, on the other hand, are usually present year-round, and include allergens such as pet dander and house dust mites. Molds can be a seasonal or perennial allergy trigger. About 26 million Americans endure chronic seasonal allergies, while the number of people with milder symptoms may be as high as 40 million, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. One study puts the annual costs of "hay fever," as it's commonly called, at $2.4 million for medications and another $1.1 billion in doctors' bills.
Signs of an Allergy
• Sneezing, watery eyes or cold symptoms that last more than
10 days without a fever.
• Repeated ear and sinus infections.
• Loss of smell or taste.
• Frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, coughing or wheezing.
• Dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses (allergic shines).
• A crease just above the tip of the nose from constant upward nose wiping (allergic salute).
What are Pollens?
Pollens are tiny egg-shaped powdery grains released from flowering plants, which are carried by the wind or insects, and serve to cross-pollinate other plants of the same type for reproductive purposes. When pollen is present in the air, it can land in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs and skin to set up an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies) and allergic asthma. Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause of seasonal allergies, while pollens that rely on insects (such as the honeybee) to be carried to other plants do not. Pollen can travel long distances and the levels in the air can vary from day to day. The pollen level can be quite different in various areas of a particular city or area. Levels of pollen tend to be highest from early morning to mid-morning, from 5 to 10 A.M.
What Causes Springtime Allergies?
Spring allergies are a result of pollen from trees, which can start pollinating anytime from January to April, depending on the climate and location. Trees that are known to cause severe allergies include oak, olive, elm, birch, ash, hickory, poplar, sycamore, maple, cypress and walnut. In some areas of the world, some weeds will also pollinate in the springtime.
How Do I Know Which Pollens I am Allergic To?
An allergist can help determine if you have seasonal allergies, and to which types of pollens to which you are allergic. This is accomplished through allergy testing, which typically involves skin testing or a blood test (RAST). Allergy testing can be helpful in predicting the times of the year that you are likely to experience allergy symptoms, and is needed if you are interesting in taking allergy shots.
How Can I Avoid Pollen Exposure? Unlike avoidance of pet dander and dust mites, it is more difficult to avoid exposure to pollens, since it is present in the outdoor air. The best way to prevent an allergy is to recognize that you have one an allergy. Allergies are best prevented by avoiding exposure to allergens in the first place.
Below are some tips to minimize pollen exposure:
• Keep windows closed to prevent pollens from drifting into your home
• Minimize early morning activity when pollen is usually emitted between 5 to 10 AM
• Keep your car windows closed when traveling
• Stay indoors when pollen count is high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in air
• Take a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea
• Avoid mowing the lawn and freshly cut grass
• Machine dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry
Watery Eyes? Runny Nose?
Time to Spring into Action Against Seasonal Allergies
For most people, allergies to plants that bloom in the spring and fall are merely annoying. For those with asthma or severe allergic reactions, however, these allergies may be life-threatening.
Spring is traditionally the main season when allergies blossom because of new growth on trees and weeds. But fall, with a whole different set of blooming plants as well as leaf mold, is a close second. In addition, people who are allergic to pollens are also often sensitive to dust mites (microscopic insects that feed on human skin cells), animal dander (tiny skin flakes shed by animals), and molds, which lurk indoors in any season.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates medications and biological products that offer allergy relief. Combined with a number of strategies to minimize a person's contact with allergens, these can make life bearable for even the worst allergy sufferer.
Health Websites of Interest
Please visit Web Medical Doctor Health Products and Services
We also recommend you pay a visit to Viral Meningitis Organization. We will soon be offering Seasonal Allergy information & products