Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, are allergic reactions that occur during a particular season. The allergic reactions often occur when your immune system is triggered off because it identifies a harmless allergen as a potentially harmful substance and then it produces antibodies to deal with it. In this process, the body produces chemicals called histamines, which cause certain symptoms of allergic reactions such as a runny nose, congestion, and watery & itchy eyes. Seasonal allergies are different between the seasons and most people tend to experience it at one point in spite of taking precautions.
One of the most common triggers for seasonal allergies is the pollen that comes from weeds, trees, and plants. The pollen becomes airborne and you inhale it, which triggers the mechanism of your immune system. Seasonal allergies are more common in the summer and spring seasons however, seasonal allergies are also seen in the winter because many trees emit pollen at different times in the year. In addition, seasonal allergies can result from indoor allergens such as pet dander and molds.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
As mentioned above, seasonal allergies occur only when your immune system identifies a harmless substance (pollen) as a harmful agent and then it produces antibodies to deal with it. After recurrent exposure to pollen and in the process of dealing with the pollen, the antibodies release chemicals called histamines. This triggers the symptoms of a runny nose, cough, sneezing, and watery and itchy eyes. Seasonal allergy triggers depend on the season and thus the allergens vary in different seasons.
Here are some of the common seasonal allergy triggers.
Spring Season Allergies
One of the most common allergy triggers in the spring is trees. As you may well know, the pollen coming from trees is extremely powdery and fine, which allows it to be easily carried by the wind and trigger seasonal allergies when you breathe it. If you experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, or sneezing, you are likely being affected by the pollen. Some common trees to give out the allergens in the U.S during the springtime are alder, willow, poplar, and cedar.
Summer Season Allergies
In the summer months, although the sunny fields look enticing, you should remember that grass is one of the main culprits of allergies. And hot, dry summer days make it worse. The types of grass that cause seasonal allergies are Timothy-grass and ryegrass. In addition, there are certain types of weeds which give out pollen that get airborne and then cause an allergic reaction in the summer. Therefore, make sure that you rinse off and change clothes when coming back home to get rid of the grass pollen from your inside space.
Autumn Season Allergies
During this season, allergies may result from weeds, and an example of this is ragweed which is considered as one of the most common sources for pollen at this time of year. Generally, it is at it’s worst in April and can spread for miles, therefore, you still sneeze when you are far from the woods, but it is still around in the autumn. In addition, mould, which is found in wet soil and leaves, is another trigger in the autumn. Therefore, you should also avoid jumping in the leaf pile if you suffer from allergic reactions.
Winter Season Allergies
Generally, it is rare to experience allergies in the winter season because most of the triggers outside your house lie dormant and pollen levels reduce dramatically during winter. However, this doesn’t mean that you are completely protected from seasonal allergens. In fact, there are indoor allergens such as molds and pet dander that can trigger severe allergic reactions. However, it is easier to prevent indoor allergens than it is the outdoor ones.
Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies
Once your body encounters a seasonal allergen, it will try to fight it off in several ways. However, the fighting process often produces bad symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are:
- A runny or blocked up nose
- Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, and ears
- Red, watery, swollen eyes
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Chest tightness
Fevers are generally not a symptom of seasonal allergies. It may indicate that you are suffering from a cold or some other health-related conditions.
How Are Seasonal Allergies Diagnosed?
Seasonal allergies may be easily diagnosed because the symptoms caused due to allergies occur only in particular seasons. In addition, a physician will be able to look at your ear, nose, and throat to specify the exact diagnosis.
To confirm the exact allergen for proper and effective remedies, you can do a skin prick test. This is a puncture made in your skin usually on your back or arm and various allergens such as molds, pollen, etc. are introduced. If you are allergic to certain allergens, you will experience a hive or a raised bump in the tested skin area. Or, the physician may also recommend a blood test to rule out other health conditions that could be causing the same symptoms.
This guest post is by Emily Pham, a blogger with over 10 years of experience in searching the effective remedies for skin care and health problems.