What to do for severe seasonal allergies

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


Tests & diagnosis

A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive. [7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]

Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Hay fever treatments

Dr.

Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.

Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom. Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.

Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips.

[7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]

Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.

Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.

For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A 2017 nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.

Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.

Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.

People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.

Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A 2015 review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms. [5 Myths About Probiotics]

Additional resources:

This article was updated on April 30, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.

When one tree loves another tree extremely much, it releases pollen to fertilize the ovules of that tree, plus whatever other trees happen to be around (you know how it goes).

But when the pollen begins to blow, you’re probably not marveling at the miracle of tree reproduction—you’re dreading the allergies that accompany it.

The reason that pollen makes some people sniffle and sneeze is because their immune systems attack it love a parasite, says Leonard Bielory, professor and allergy specialist at Rutgers University Middle of Environmental Prediction.

That’s because certain people’s immune systems recognize the protein sequence in pollen as similar to the protein sequence in parasites.

When this happens, their bodies attempt to expel the “parasite” through sneezing and other symptoms. This attack on the pollen, Bielory says, “is the reaction we call allergy.”

The fact that some people’s bodies react this way is actually helpful of weird, since pollen “is rather innocuous,” he says. Our immune system “really should not be reacting to it, because pollen is nothing more than the male reproductive component of plants.”


So Boiling in Here

Reports of pollen allergies first appeared around the time of the industrial revolution. Whether that means that these allergies were the product of pollution, new diets, or changes in hygiene isn’t clear.

What is clear, writes Charles W. Schmidt in this month’s issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, is the role of climate change in contemporary pollen allergies.

“When exposed to warmer temperatures and higher levels of CO2, plants grow more vigorously and produce more pollen than they otherwise would,” writes Schmidt.

Warming temperatures in some areas, love the northern United States, extend the periods during which plants release pollen.

The combined effect of warming temperatures and more CO2 means that the quantity of pollen in the air has been increasing and will continue to increase as climate change worsens.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

(According to a study presented by Bielory, pollen counts could double by 2040.)

This is bad news not just for people who own allergies, but also for people who don’t.

“In general, the longer you’re exposed to an allergen, the more likely you are going to be sensitized to that allergen,” Bielory says. People who own pollen allergies may experience intensified symptoms, and people who don’t normally own pollen allergies may start to.

Already, Schmidt writes, there “is evidence suggesting that hay fever prevalence is rising in numerous parts of the world.”


Does Honey Help?

With the increase in the number of pollen allergy-sufferers, it’s understandable that people own begun to seek natural ways to alleviate their symptoms.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

Some own even argued that consuming honey will build up your resistance because it contains pollen.

But as Rachel E. Gross points at out Slate, that theory’s just honey bunches of lies; mainly because the pollen that makes you sneeze doesn’t come from flowers.

In the spring, the pollen that gives humans allergies comes from trees. In the summer, people own allergic reactions to grass pollen; and at the finish finish of summer and beginning of drop, people start to suffer from pollinating weeds—especially ragweed, which has spread from the United States to Europe and the Middle East.

Really, the “natural” ways to deal with pollen allergies are to stay clean, hold your windows closed, and go exterior when pollen counts are lower, such as after it rains.

If your symptoms are bad enough, take over-the-counter medication or see an allergist. And if you don’t mind the risk of malnutrition or life-threatening diseases, there’s always hookworms.

Follow Becky Little on .

Seasonal allergies (commonly called hay fever) are common. They happen only during certain times of the year—particularly the spring, summer, or fall—depending on what a person is allergic to. Symptoms involve primarily the membrane lining the nose, causing allergic rhinitis, or the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva), causing allergic conjunctivitis.

The term hay fever is somewhat misleading because symptoms do not happen only in the summer when hay is traditionally gathered and never include fever.

Hay fever is generally a reaction to pollens and grasses. The pollens that cause hay fever vary by season:

  1. Summer: Grasses (such as Bermuda, timothy, sweet vernal, orchard, and Johnson grass) and weeds (such as Russian thistle and English plantain)

  2. Spring: Generally trees (such as oak, elm, maple, alder, birch, juniper, and olive)

en españolAlergia estacional (fiebre del heno)

Treatment

There are numerous ways to treat seasonal allergies, depending on how severe the symptoms are.

The most significant part of treatment is knowing what allergens are at work. Some kids can get relief by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens that annoy them.

If certain seasons cause symptoms, hold the windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen/mold/weed counts are high.It’s also a excellent thought for kids with seasonal allergies to wash their hands or shower and change clothing after playing outside.

If reducing exposure isn’t possible or is ineffective, medicines can assist ease allergy symptoms. These may include decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal spray steroids. If symptoms can’t be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your kid to an allergist or immunologist for evaluation for allergy shots (immunotherapy), which can assist desensitize kids to specific allergens.

Avoidance

The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.

Outdoor exposure

  1. 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.
  2. Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  3. 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.
  4. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  5. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
  6. Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

Indoor exposure

  1. 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 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

  2. 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.
  3. Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home.

    Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.

  4. Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets

  1. 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.
  2. Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  3. 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.

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.

Nasal sprays

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.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

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.

Immunotherapy

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.

  1. 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.

    What to do for severe seasonal allergies

    As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.

  2. Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in 2014. 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

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:

  1. Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  2. Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  3. 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.

Important precautions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  4. Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  5. Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  6. Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  7. 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.

  8. Never take anyone else’s medication.

Decongestants

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.

Intranasal corticosteroids

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.

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.

About Seasonal Allergies

«Achoo!» It’s your son’s third sneezing fit of the morning, and as you hand him another tissue you wonder if these cold-like symptoms — the sneezing, congestion, and runny nose — own something to do with the recent weather change.

If he gets similar symptoms at the same time every year, you’re likely right: seasonal allergies are at work.

Seasonal allergies, sometimes called «hay fever» or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, generally when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

The immune systems of people who are allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these particles (called allergens) as invaders and release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them.

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergy symptoms.

People can be allergic to one or more types of pollen or mold.

What to do for severe seasonal allergies

The type someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen. For example, in the mid-Atlantic states, tree pollination is February through May, grass pollen runs from May through June, and weed pollen is from August through October — so kids with these allergies are likely to own increased symptoms at those times. Mold spores tend to peak midsummer through the drop, depending on location.

Even kids who own never had seasonal allergies in years past can develop them. Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, though they generally develop by the time someone is 10 years ancient and reach their peak in the early twenties, with symptoms often disappearing later in adulthood.

Signs and Symptoms

If your kid develops a «cold» at the same time every year, seasonal allergies might be to blame.

Allergy symptoms, which generally come on suddenly and final as endless as a person is exposed to the allergen, can include:

  1. clear, runny nose
  2. A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is pricked with a little pricking device.If a kid reacts to the allergen, the skin will swell a little in that area.
  3. itchy nose and/or throat
  4. nasal congestion
  5. sneezing
  6. coughing
  7. A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin. This test stings a little but isn’t extremely painful. After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears (like a mosquito bite) at the injection site, the test is positive.

These symptoms often come with itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, which is called allergic conjunctivitis.

Kids who own wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to these symptoms might own allergies that triggerasthma.

Diagnosis

Seasonal allergies are fairly simple to identify because the pattern of symptoms returns from year to year following exposure to an allergen.

Talk with your doctor if you ponder your kid might own allergies. The doctor will enquire about symptoms and when they appear and, based on the answers and a physical exam, should be capable to make a diagnosis. If not, the doctor may refer you to an allergist for blood tests or allergy skin tests.

To discover an allergy’s cause, allergists generally do skin tests in one of two ways:

  • A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin.

    This test stings a little but isn’t extremely painful. After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears (like a mosquito bite) at the injection site, the test is positive.

  • 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.
  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is pricked with a little pricking device.If a kid reacts to the allergen, the skin will swell a little in that area.
  • 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.

Even if a skin test or a blood test shows an allergy, a kid must also own symptoms to be definitively diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a kid who has a positive test for grass pollen and sneezes a lot while playing in the grass would be considered allergic to grass pollen.

Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Even if a skin test or a blood test shows an allergy, a kid must also own symptoms to be definitively diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a kid who has a positive test for grass pollen and sneezes a lot while playing in the grass would be considered allergic to grass pollen.

Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


Symptoms

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. 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.


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. 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.


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