Health Tips On Allergies

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are sometimes called "hay fever" or seasonal allergic rhinitis and act differently among different people. Hay fever symptoms in most people include sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy nose, runny nose, postnasal drip, itchy nose and or ear congestion.

Like other allergies, hay fever occurs when an airborne substance such as pollen, mold, animal dander, or certain foods, triggers an over reaction in your immune system. As your immune system reacts, it can cause inflammation of your sinuses, skin, airways and or digestive system. When you come into contact with an allergen, your body will release histamine (to "fight off" the allergen) and cause an allergic reaction. That's when you get the all-too-familiar symptoms of hay fever. Experiencing symptoms is a result of your body producing antibodies to fight off the allergy to remove it.

Hay fever triggers vary by season. During the spring time, trees are usually the culprits of hay fever. Meanwhile, in the summer months, grasses are the most responsible. In the fall, ragweed pollen can cause severe seasonal allergies. During the winter, indoor allergens can cause hay fever, particularly because you do not open the windows and doors as often during the winter season – and this keeps everything inside without being released naturally. Most people will try to control their allergy with over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants.

How do I know whether I have an allergy vs cold? An important difference from colds is that they are not contagious. Like the common cold, most allergies can't be cured. You can try to control and relieve your symptoms with a specific allergy treatment. A cold is an infection that can be caused by more than many different types of viruses. It usually affects your nose, throat, sinuses and windpipe. Colds can be contagious up to two days before symptoms start, and can last two weeks after exposure. There's currently no cure for a common cold, but they are generally mild and don't normally result in serious medical problems.

When should I see a doctor? If you're experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, your medical provider or an allergist can conduct an evaluation and provide a solution that works for you:

• Sinus pain or pressure (in the cheeks beside the nose or in the forehead directly above the nose)

• Headaches

• Coughing

• Wheezing

• Snoring

• Difficulty falling asleep due to trouble breathing

• Shortness of breath (lasting briefly)

• Chest tightness (not severe)

But...If you are experiencing sudden shortness of breath and/or chest tightness, go to the emergency room. These symptoms may indicate something more serious than an allergy.


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