Understanding Seasonal Allergies

Did your kid wake up today with a sneezing fit and watery eyes? And you think it’s cold infection due to change in weather and searching for the antihistamine medicines in your medicine box? Hold on, mind the time of year, it could be the seasonal allergies that have similar symptoms as common cold but need different treatment.


What are seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies, also called hay fevers, are different from environmental allergies. While environmental allergies are based on the surroundings and exposures to dust mites, cobwebs, cockroaches, pets, etc. and can attack any time, these allergies are specific to different seasons of a year.

There are multiple types of allergies that strike at different times of a year depending upon growth of specific allergens in the air at those times. However, it will affect one if s(he) is allergic to those allergens.

Generally speaking, seasonal allergies are the allergies from different types of pollens that emerge at different time of year. Pollen is a fine male reproductive powder secreted by the flowers of trees and plants that is infused in the air in order to fertilize other flowers of the same species in order to produce seeds. People can be allergic to one or more types of pollens.




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Different types of seasonal allergies or hay fevers.

Spring allergies - Happens due to pollens of trees like Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Cedar, Elm, Cypress, etc.

Summer allergies - Caused by pollens of grasses and weeds.

Fall allergies - Mainly triggered by ragweeds, mold,etc.


Treatments:

Awareness and prevention are the best ways to avert any seasonal allergy. But it is still very difficult especially if one is allergic to certain pollens. If you are aware of your allergy type then you can minimize attack by staying mostly indoors, by wearing dust mask, etc. Using air conditioner and dehumidifier ( HEPA filter) and cleaning home interior regularly by vacuum cleaner armed with HEPA filter help reduce the chance of pollen allergy attacks.


Medications:

Certain types of over-the-counter medications that may be used to heal seasonal allergy include decongestants and antihistamines and their combinations.


Allergy shots:

Allergy shots (UCT - vaccination) may be tried if the condition is not eased out by medicines. These help to build immunity from an allergen by administering a series of injections of that allergen. The amount of allergen in the shot is increased gradually.

The allergy shots strengthen your immune system’s response to that allergen and over a period of time you may get complete relief from the allergic attacks.


What to read next?

Cold Virus Infection
Influenza Virus

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