Allergies are often common during certain seasons. Seasonal allergy is known as Allergic Rhinitis in medical science. It is commonly known as hay fever. A lot of people from the different parts of the world suffer from hay fever or other allergy-related symptoms in winter or summer or spring. The symptoms are caused by allergens or the factors that cause irritation. Allergies can become harmful or life-threatening if the patients have asthma or any other disease. Seasonal allergy symptoms can vary from person to person but often involves fever and flu-like symptoms.
Hay fever usually occurs when the immune system of the human body becomes overactive due to certain outside factors and allergens. Pollens, mites, dust etc. are types of allergens. These substances trigger the allergic response inside the human body. Pollens are the most common allergens. It often causes mild to severe allergic symptoms. The pollens can come from wild plants like trees, wildflowers like dandelion, grasses and weeds. Only the pollen of wind-pollinated plants irritates humans. The insect-pollinated plants generally do not impose such threats because these plants have heavier pollens.
As the name suggests, hay fever occurs during hay cutting season. According to history, the hay cutting was performed during summer, and a lot of people experienced the symptoms during the summer. The seasonal allergy hence is common during summer and less likely to happen during winter. But, there are other allergens besides the pollens. Therefore, one can experience allergic rhinitis during any season and any month of the year. Besides that, many plants also emit their pollens in different seasons. The pollination depends on the geographic region and climate. So, it is possible to experience seasonal allergies more than once in a year or different seasons. Some people are also vulnerable to indoor allergens like molds, mites etc.
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Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergy symptoms can be mild or unnoticeable or severe. There are different symptoms, as well. Some of the common symptoms are-
- Runny nose, Stuffy nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Ear congestion
- Itchy sinuses
- Itchy throat
- Itchy ear canals
- Postnasal drainage
- The less common symptoms are-
- Shortness of breath
Those who have asthma need to be extra careful if they have hay fever. Often, hay fever triggers an asthma attack in asthma patients.
Causes of Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever
As it has been said before, hay fever occurs of the allergens cause irritation in the human immune system. Hence, the immune system becomes over-active. The airborne allergens can be harmless to one and dangerous to another person. These allergens cause an excessive spurt of histamine and other chemicals in the bloodstream and these chemicals, in turn, give birth to the symptoms. The symptoms can depend on the season.
So, the seasonal allergy changes its facade in every season. Now, you will know about seasonal allergy symptoms in different seasons-
Summer is the season for cutting hay, from which the allergic fever got its name. The grasses like ryegrass, timothy grass and some weeds shed their pollens. These pollens often act as the allergens and causes hey fever. The grass is among the common factors that cause hay fever and asthma attack seasonal allergy.
Autumn or fall is another season when some people experience seasonal allergies. Ragweed pr Ambrosia sp. Is the main culprit here. This plant has more than forty species around the world. These plants usually grow in temperate regions of Noth America and South America. These plants are invasive and can cause disbalance in the natural plantation in a place. Hence, ragweed is also very difficult to control. Ragweed pollen is a common allergen and causes allergy in many people. The symptoms are often severe, and the affected person needs medical attention.
There are also plants like mugworts, fat hens, plantains, sorrels, nettles which cause allergic symptoms in autumns.
Winter is another season when many people suffer from allergies. During this season, the outdoor allergens lie dormant. The winter season is the season which gives rise to the indoor allergens. Many people suffer from allergies or hey fever during winter. In winter, people generally spend time indoors. During winter allergens like mites, pet dander, molds, cockroaches, dust etc. gets accumulated. These allergens cause fever or sneezes in, many people.
The most significant advantage, in this case, is that you can remove the allergens easily compared to outdoor allergens. Here are some tips that you can follow to clean your room-
1. Try to wash the beddings in hot water per week to remove all the allergens and germs from them.
2. If your home has water leaks, then it is better to repair the leaks. Water leakage leads to molds and pests.
3. In case there are molds in corners or surfaces regularly. Molds often form in air conditioners, humidifiers, swamp coolers and refrigerators etc. You can also take help from experts and get your home deep cleaned,
4. Remove carpets and upholstered furniture from your room. If you need a rug then deep clean these rugs after some time to keep them free of allergens.
5. Try to use dehumidifiers to cut off the extra moisture from your home.
Trees cause most of the springtime allergies. Among the allergy-causing trees, Birch, Cedar, Alder, Horse Chestnut, Willow, and Poplar trees are common in Noth America. The flower of these trees releases the pollens which cause the allergic reaction in many people.
Diagnosing the allergies and Hay fever:
The hay fever is often easier to detect than other types of allergies. If your allergic symptoms occur only at a particular season, then it is bright that you suffer from seasonal allergies. Doctors often ask patients about how frequently they suffer from allergies to know if it is annual or not. They may also check your throat, nose, ears to understand if this is a seasonal allergy.
Allergy testing may not be necessary in case of seasonal allergies. The treatment is more pr less the same regardless of the allergens and the symptoms. If the patient suffers from severe allergy symptoms, he or she may need to get admitted. Severe allergies and asthma attacks are common for asthma patients during certain seasons.
Seasonal Allergy Treatment
In general, the treatment for allergic rhinitis remains more or less the same. Medicines are given to suppress allergic reactions. There are also medicines to treat hay fever symptoms. Many people even switch to a holistic approach and herbal remedies to treat allergic reactions. Besides that, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, then you need to be careful and avoid the allergens.
Here are the ways to treat seasonal allergies-
Over the counter medicines like cetirizine, antihistamines, decongestant medicines are often prescribed for patients. Other combination drugs like acetaminophen, diphenhydramine, phenylephrine can give you some relief. Prescription drugs like steroid nasal sprays are also useful.
If you suffer from sudden attacks, then your doctor may ask you to get allergy shots. These medicines are a type of immunotherapy medications which curbs the sensation against the allergens off your immune system.
Many antiallergic medicines have some unwanted side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, confusion etc. So you need to be careful.
2. Alternative medicines
There are also alternative and holistic medicine for hay fever and allergies. Many use these methods to get instant reliefs. Scientists are researching on these alternative methods to provide more insights. Here, are some popular alternative treatments for relief from allergic reactions-
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yoghurt can be helpful
- Spirulina(blue-green algae, considered a superfood)
- Vitamin C, known for its antihistamine properties
- Quercetin, the flavonoid responsible for fruit and vegetable colours
Prevention is the key if you want to save yourself from seasonal allergies or hay fever. Since seasonal allergies happen in a particular season due to a certain allergen, prevention can prevent allergies and symptoms at a great deal.
- You can opt for a HEPA filter instead of a fan to get relief from hot weather in summer.
- Check the weather forecast to know if there are chances of pollen release or not.
- Use anti-dust mask to prevent allergens.
- Try to remain indoors during the season, which causes your allergic reactions.
- Try to shut the doors and windows so that pollens cannot enter your home.
- Clean your home during winters.
- Maintain proper hygiene
- Avoid smoking
Distinguishing Seasonal allergies and cold
Common cold or flu and seasonal allergies have identical symptoms. Hence, it often becomes difficult to distinguish seasonal allergies.
In general, both of the syndromes mentioned above have to sneeze with a runny nose and congestion as their primary symptom. Common cold also has coughs(dry or wet) coupled with a sore throat. But, often seasonal allergies can also have coughs and throat irritation. People who have hay fever often have similar symptoms like a collective fever or cold or common flu.
Is there any difference? Well, there exist few variations which can distinguish common cold and seasonal allergies. The most common symptom to identify between seasonal allergies vs cold is itchy eyes. Itchy eyes with redness is a common symptom in seasonal allergies. It does not occur in those who are suffering from the common cold.
According to experts, since common cold and seasonal allergies are often identical with similar symptoms, patients may not realise they have seasonal allergies. Often doctors also are unable to distinguish between these two syndromes due to their similarity. They might think this as common cold which happens during seasonal changes. They advise people to look for the frequency and the duration of the symptoms to check if they are suffering from seasonal allergies or cold.
Small children often suffer from seasonal allergies. But, their parents may think this as the common cold. Besides that, since hay fever usually appears during the fall or the summer, often it remains misdiagnosed. In most cases, seasonal allergies and hay fever start showing its symptoms after a child becomes four to six years old. But, it can occur any time after birth.
So, parents need to be careful about it and need to take precautions and consult doctors if their children exhibit symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes in a particular season.
According to medical scientists, a seasonal allergy is a genetic trait passed from parents to the off-springs. If one of the parents of a child has seasonal allergies, then the child may have ten to thirty percent chance of having seasonal allergies. But, if both of the parents have seasonal allergies, then their children have nearly seventy percent chance of suffering from seasonal allergies. That means, if you have suffered from seasonal allergies in the past, your child has a high chance of inheriting this syndrome. So, precaution is required.
If you feel that it is challenging to distinguish the seasonal allergy, then look for rth3e following signs. These signs can help you to choose the right syndrome in case you are confused about seasonal allergies vs cold.
Here are the five signs-
Check the time the symptoms occur
Colds usually occur in winter or during the interseasonal period between fall and winter. Colds also take time to show its signs. But in case of hay fever, it can occur in any season- summer or autumn or winter or fall. Each season has different allergens which cause seasonal allergies. Hence, if your child suffers from symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eye in summer or spring, then he or she is suffering from seasonal allergies.
Besides that, common cold symptoms also do not occur immediately after the person comes in contact with the flu virus. It may take several days to show the signs. On the contrary, people suffering from hay fever starts to show the symptoms immediately after they come in contact with the allergens.
Duration of the symptoms
The length of the symptoms is also another way to distinguish seasonal allergies from the common cold. In general. Symptoms of common cold often stay for a fortnight. But, in the case of hay fever, the symptoms stay even longer, even for weeks. This happens because pollens cause seasonal allergies. Hence, symptoms occur as long as the pollens are present.
Colour of the nasal discharge
The color of the nasal discharge is another way to check if a person is suffering from a common cold or seasonal allergy. In case of cold, a person produces green or yellow mucus. But, if a person is suffering from seasonal allergies, he or she will display a clear nasal discharge. But, in many situations, patients suffering from allergies also exhibit yellow nasal discharge. This happens because they also develop a sinus infection.
Common cold involves fever. But, those who suffer from seasonal allergies do not exhibit high temperature.
The ache in different parts of the body
Severe or common influenza may cause muscle aches in some people. But, hay fever does not cause any type of muscle ache.
Existence of “allergic salute”
“Allergic salute” is standard in people who suffer from hay fever. They often use their plans to wipe off or rub their nose to get relief from a runny nose or itchy nose. Due to frequent rubbing, the nose bridge also gets a small crease in case of people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Notably, children who suffer from seasonal allergies often do this to their nose.
So, it is clear that seasonal allergies are caused by the pollens of grass, weeds and trees. People can suffer from seasonal allergies in summer, fall m winter or spring. The symptoms include runny nose, nasal discharge, itchy eyes, and sinus infection. The signs remain as long as the pollens are present in the air. It is also called hay fever. Seasonal allergies often show similar symptoms like cold. But, if observed, it can be distinguished. If you suffer from the common cold, then you need to take precautions and proper medications to keep yourself healthy.