Fall allergies what does it mean
Hay fever happens when your immune system identifies an airborne substance that’s generally harmless as dangerous. It responds to that substance, or allergen, by releasing histamines and other chemicals into your bloodstream. Those chemicals produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Common triggers of hay fever vary from one season to another.
Autumn is ragweed season. The genus name for ragweed is Ambrosia, and it includes more than 40 species worldwide. Most of them grow in temperate regions of North and South America.
They’re invasive plants that are hard to control. Their pollen is a extremely common allergen, and the symptoms of ragweed allergy can be especially severe.
Other plants that drop their pollen in the drop include nettles, mugworts, sorrels, fat hens, and plantains.
Trees are responsible for most springtime seasonal allergies. Birch is one of the most common offenders in northern latitudes, where numerous people with hay fever react to its pollen. Other allergenic trees in North America include cedar, alder, horse chestnut, willow, and poplar.
Hay fever gets its name from hay-cutting season, which is traditionally in the summer months.
But the genuine culprits of summertime seasonal allergies are grasses, such as ryegrass and timothy grass, as well as certain weeds. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, grasses are the most common trigger for people with hay fever.
By winter, most outdoor allergens lie dormant. As a result, freezing weather brings relief to numerous people with hay fever. But it also means that more folks are spending time indoors.
If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, you may also react to indoor allergens, such as mold, pet dander, dust mites, or cockroaches.
Indoor allergens are often easier to remove from your environment than outdoor pollens. Here are a few tips for ridding your home of common allergens:
- Clean moldy surfaces and any places that mold may form, including humidifiers, swamp coolers, air conditioners, and refrigerators.
- Cover your bedding and pillows with allergen-proof covers.
- Wash your bedding in extremely boiling water at least once a week.
- Remove stuffed toys from your children’s bedrooms.
- Get rid of carpets and upholstered furniture.
- Fix water leaks and clean up water damage that can assist mold and pests flourish.
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies
Symptoms of seasonal allergies range from mild to severe.
The most common include:
Less common symptoms include:
Many people with hay fever also own asthma.
If you own both hay fever and asthma, your seasonal allergens may trigger an asthma attack.
Treating seasonal allergies
The best medicine for hay fever and year-round allergic rhinitis is avoidance of allergens that trigger symptoms for you. Medications are also available to treat symptoms of hay fever. Some people also attempt alternative treatments.
When you can’t avoid your allergens, other treatments are available, including:
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend allergy shots.
They’re a type of immunotherapy that can assist desensitize your immune system to allergens.
Some allergy medications may own unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Shop for over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines online.
Take steps to avoid seasonal allergens. For instance, use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter to cool your home in summer, rather than ceiling fans. Check your local weather network for pollen forecasts, and attempt to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
At times of year when your hay fever is active:
- limit your time outdoors
- keep your windows shut
- consider wearing a dust mask when you’re exterior, especially on windy days
It’s also significant to avoid cigarette smoke, which can aggravate hay fever symptoms.
Few studies own been done on alternative treatments for hay fever. Some people believe the following alternative treatments may provide relief:
- spirulina, a type of blue-green algae
- quercetin, a flavonoid that gives fruits and vegetables color
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, the “friendly” bacteria found in yogurt
- vitamin C, which has some antihistamine properties
More research is needed to study if these alternative treatments are effective.
Diagnosing seasonal allergies
Hay fever is generally easier to diagnose than other allergies.
If you own allergic symptoms that only happen at certain times of the year, it’s a sign that you own seasonal allergic rhinitis. Your doctor may also check your ears, nose, and throat to make a diagnosis.
Allergy testing generally isn’t necessary. Your treatment for allergic rhinitis will likely be the same, no matter what type of allergen you react to.
The symptoms of seasonal allergies can be uncomfortable. If you suspect you own seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor. They can assist diagnose the cause of your symptoms and prescribe a treatment plan.
They will likely urge you to take steps to avoid your allergy triggers. They may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them. If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in numerous forms — oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops.
Some medications may own side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can assist you live the life you want.
Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t reply well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who own allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies.
Immunotherapy can be extremely effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t assist the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.
Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.
- Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached. Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections.
Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.
- Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily. Treatment can continue for as endless as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.
Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis.
These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes put. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms. Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.
Antihistamines assist to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:
- Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
- Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
- Itchy skin, hives and eczema
There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription.
Patients reply to them in a wide variety of ways.
Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects. Some people discover that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time. If you discover that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a diverse type or strength of antihistamine. If you own excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines.
Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.
Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours. The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications. Proper use of these drugs is just as significant as their selection. The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop.
A dose taken early can eliminate the need for numerous later doses to reduce established symptoms. Numerous times a patient will tell that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might own been effective.
Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury. Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy. For this reason, it is significant that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine.
Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.
A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes. Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations. Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines.
Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.
- While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
- Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
- Follow your allergist’s instructions.
- Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
- Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
- Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy.
Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.
- Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
- Never take anyone else’s medication.
Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis.
They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.
Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may happen from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection. Take care not to spray the medication against the middle portion of the nose (the nasal septum). The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding. Some older preparations own been shown to own some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.
Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will assist counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus.
Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed. Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage.
There are numerous OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.
Nasal cromolyn blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances. It does not work in every patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can assist prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.
Nasal ipratropium bromide spray can assist reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.
Decongestants assist relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue. They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects.
They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not unusual for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening. If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed.
At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants. Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using. Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.
Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and final for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist.
Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue. Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure that swelling, provided that there is no underlying disorder.
Oral decongestants are found in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, and may be the treatment of choice for nasal congestion. They don’t cause rhinitis medicamentosa but need to be avoided by some patients with high blood pressure.
If you own high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your allergist before using them.
Leukatriene pathway inhibitors
Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These drugs are also used to treat asthma.
Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops
Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching.
OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms. They may not relieve every symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may actually cause your condition to worsen.
Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms, and can be used to manage them.
Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.
The symptoms of seasonal allergies can be uncomfortable. If you suspect you own seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor.
They can assist diagnose the cause of your symptoms and prescribe a treatment plan. They will likely urge you to take steps to avoid your allergy triggers. They may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications.
The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.
- Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
- Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
- Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
- Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
- Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.
- To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly.
Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
- Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home. Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.
- Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom. Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least degrees Fahrenheit).
- Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.
Exposure to pets
- If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible.
If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
- Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
- Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.
Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis
- Antibiotics: Effective for the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect the course of uncomplicated common colds (a viral infection) and are of no benefit for noninfectious rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis.
- Nasal surgery: Surgery is not a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but it may assist if patients own nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis that is not responsive to antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays.
ALERT: Drop CLIMATE CHANGE IS COMING!
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR ALLERGIES NOW!
Does it feel as though your allergy symptoms flare up earlier and earlier each year? You are probably right.
Climate change may actually be causing an earlier and longer drop season. In addition, here in Arizona, our Monsoon season can cause more windy days and higher humidity than we are used to. This can mean heightened allergy symptoms because wind can carry the pollen from ragweed, grasses, and tress up to miles from its source. The higher humidity increases mold exposure and indoor dust mite allergens.
Plan your battle in advance!
Although people label them drop allergies, numerous allergic triggers start to appear mid-late August.
We recommend to start taking your allergy medications two weeks before your symptoms normally start. Getting in front of your allergies means controlling them much better. If your symptoms persist, make an appointment with our office to further assess your allergy sensitivities and optimize medications, environmental control measures and consider allergy immunotherapy.
Environmental Control Measures:
Pollen (trees, grasses, weeds) — Pollen that triggers allergy symptoms need to be kept out of the home.
Hold your shoes at your door. After working or playing outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair, face and hands, and change your clothes. Hold your doors and windows closed and use your air conditioning to hold pollen out of the home. Consider wearing an N95 mask and gloves when working exterior to minimize pollen exposure. A HEPA air purifier can be extremely effective as well.
Mold — Mold can be tough to avoid. It can grow anywhere where there is water and is a large trigger during Monsoon season and the drop. The key to reducing mold is moisture control. Hold your home humidity under 60% and clean gutters regularly. Use your bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately.
Scrub any visible mold on surfaces with detergent and water.
Dust Mites — These microscopic critters feed primarily on human skin that we shed naturally throughout our home, especially our beds. They can be common year circular and thrive with high humidity. They are tough to completely get rid of but there are steps to manage them. Regularly wash your bedding in the hottest water setting ( degrees or higher). Cover your mattress and pillows in dust proof covers. Clean air vents throughout your home before using your heating unit for this first time after summer.
Pet Dander and Fur — A year circular allergen, we love our pets, but they can be major allergy triggers.
Avoid shut contact if you own known allergies. Hold them off your bed and sitting areas. Frequent washing and grooming is recommended. And brush them below after a stroll or playing exterior so they don’t carry pollen in the house.
If your allergy symptoms persist despite medications and environmental control measures, you may be a grand candidate for Allergy Immunotherapy. Allergy Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) which target your exact allergy triggers can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms and can also prevent the development of asthma and reduce common respiratory infections.
Make an appointment today and take control of your allergies now!
An allergy (allergic rhinitis) that occurs in a specific season is more commonly known as hay fever. About 8 percent of Americans experience it, reports the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Hay fever occurs when your immune system overreacts to an outdoor allergen, such as pollen. An allergen is something that triggers an allergic response. The most common allergens are pollens from wind-pollenated plants, such as trees, grasses, and weeds.
The pollens from insect-pollinated plants are too heavy to remain airborne for endless, and they’re less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Hay fever comes by its name from hay-cutting season. Historically, this activity occurred in the summer months, around the same time numerous people experienced symptoms.
Seasonal allergies are less common during the winter, but it’s possible to experience allergic rhinitis year-round. Diverse plants emit their respective pollens at diverse times of year. Depending on your allergy triggers and where you live, you may experience hay fever in more than one season. You may also react to indoor allergens, such as mold or pet dander.