For many people, the emergence of marauding ticks at this time of year is the least of their worries. The real struggle for these people is with seasonal allergies, also referred to as hay fever or allergic rhinitis.
If these common symptoms seem to develop for weeks and months on end at the same time each year, it is likely that you could be affected by seasonal allergies.
Thankfully, despite how infuriating and disruptive seasonal allergies can be, there are many steps that can be taken to lessen their impact. In this Spotlight, we take a look at what seasonal allergies are and what the best strategies are for handling them.
What causes such allergies?
People develop allergies when their body’s immune system reacts to a substance as though it is a threat like an infection, producing antibodies to fight it. These substances are referred to as allergens.
The next time that the body encounters the allergen, it produces more antibodies in anticipation, releasing histamine and chemical mediators in the body that lead to an allergic reaction. It is these chemicals that typically cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes and other areas of the body.
“Summer allergies start to pick up around May and those affected will usually get itchy and runny eyes, a runny nose and inflamed, swollen sinuses. Breathing through your nose can be difficult too, and you might have a cough
Avoiding triggers – be aware of what sets you off
“People focus on the highs and lows of pollen counts,” “What they don’t realize is that a high total pollen count doesn’t always mean you will have allergy symptoms. The pollen from the plant you are allergic to may not be high. The key is to know what you’re allergic to, and how to treat your particular symptoms.” says Dr. James Sublett, president of ACAAI.
Minimizing the risk indoors It is impossible to remove all allergens from the air inside the home, but there are certainly steps that can help reduce levels of exposure. Keeping the windows shut is a simple strategy that should be one of the first to be adopted. Simple changes like wearing wraparound sunglasses, washing your clothes and hair more regularly, keeping your home clean, avoiding open, grassy spaces where possible and keeping your windows shut can help lessen the effect of summer allergies,” Jan Batten told MNT.