What happens when you have seasonal allergies

What happens when you have seasonal allergies

Colds and allergies do share similar symptoms. For example, both conditions can affect the respiratory system. Common symptoms that can happen with either a freezing or allergy include:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Nasal congestion
  3. Sneezing
  4. Coughing
  5. Runny nose
  6. Post-nasal drip
  7. Conjunctivitis

How to tell the difference

Asking certain questions can assist determine whether symptoms are due to an allergy or a cold:

  1. Do symptoms happen at predictable times?

    If symptoms tend to happen at the same time every year, they can be due to seasonal allergies.

  2. How quickly did symptoms appear? Symptoms tend to come on gradually over a day or two when a freezing is the cause. When symptoms come on suddenly out of nowhere, they are more likely to be caused by an allergy.
  3. How endless own symptoms been present? Symptoms of a freezing tend to taper off after a week or two. Allergy symptoms may final while exposure to the triggering allergen is still in the air.
  4. Do symptoms include itchy or watery eyes or eczema? Certain symptoms tend to happen more frequently with allergies as opposed to colds.


The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing.

But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.

Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness. People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]

Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders.

The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.

People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.

Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»

Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said.

But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.

Pollen count

How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any 24-hour period. That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.

A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope.

It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S. states.

Common allergens

The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants. As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.

Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass.

Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.

The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.

Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight. During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.

Different treatments

Although some over-the-counter medications target both colds and allergies, there are several differences in how each condition is treated.

Currently, there is still no cure for a freezing. Treatment for a freezing generally involves getting plenty of relax, staying well hydrated and using a humidifier to decrease congestion.

However, there are some over-the-counter medications available to improve symptoms of a freezing. These include decongestants to decrease nasal stuffiness and pain medication to assist reduce a sore throat or body aches.

Prevention is often part of a plan to treat allergies.

Once the allergen has been identified, individuals are advised to avoid it as much as possible. When avoiding an allergen is not possible, the symptoms can be treated in ways that differ from freezing treatment.

Allergies can be treated with over-the-counter decongestants.

Medications containing antihistamines are used to treat allergies. Antihistamines block the effects of histamine, the compound that causes allergy symptoms.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

Antihistamines, which generally come in a pill or nasal spray, may reduce common allergy symptoms, such as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.

Nasal steroid sprays are also sometimes recommended to treat allergy symptoms.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids decrease inflammation in the nose, which reduces congestion.

Allergy shots may also be used for long-term control of allergies. Allergy shots involve receiving little doses of the allergen at regular intervals over several months.

The goal of treating an allergy is to get the body used to the allergen that causes the symptoms.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

Over time as the body builds up a tolerance to the allergen, symptoms often decrease.

When to see a doctor

It is not always simple to tell the difference between a freezing and an allergy, so it's significant to know when to see a healthcare provider. If symptoms final for more than 2 weeks or if they are severe, it may be a excellent thought to see a doctor.

Doctors can identify allergy triggers through serum and skin tests. Once a specific allergen has been identified, an appropriate treatment plan is developed.

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop. Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, 2006), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.

More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2017, 8.1% of adults and 7.7% of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In 2019, spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN).

Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states. Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]

Understanding the causes

In order to assist identify the difference between a freezing and an allergy, it's helpful to understand what each condition involves.

There are over 200 subtypes of viruses that can cause a freezing with the rhinovirus being the most common. Colds are transmitted through droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. Although colds happen more commonly in the winter, they can develop any time of the year.

An allergy is not caused by a virus and is not contagious. Instead, an allergy develops when the immune system reacts to a generally harmless substance as if it were dangerous.

The body releases compounds to combat what it perceives as a harmful substance. One compound released is histamine.

This compound is intended to protect the body and fight the invader, but histamine causes numerous of the common allergy symptoms.


Although the symptoms of colds and allergies may be similar, there are also key differences.

Variations in the history of the illness and duration of symptoms often offer clues as to which condition is present.

People should consider the following differences when trying to identify whether they own a freezing or an allergy:

  1. Body aches also do not happen with allergies while they may be common with a freezing
  2. Itchy and watery eyes are often telltale signs that the symptoms are due to an allergy
  3. A sore throat can happen with allergies but is more common with a freezing
  4. A fever can happen with a severe freezing, especially in children, but is not an allergy symptom
  5. Some people with allergies also develop eczema, which is not a symptom of a freezing

Duration and history of symptoms

There is often a difference in how endless symptoms of colds and allergies final.

According to the CDC, freezing symptoms typically final about 7 to 10 days. Allergy symptoms may final several weeks, particularly if the allergen remains in the air.

One of the main ways to tell the difference between a freezing and an allergy is by the symptom history.

What happens when you own seasonal allergies

With allergies, symptoms may appear during a certain season or come and go based on the person's environment. For example, if symptoms appear suddenly when a person is around animals or grass, it's a strong sign that they are due to an allergy, not a freezing.