Are you in Macon, GA and having symptoms related to seasonal allergies or hay fever? Head on over to Med Plus Immediate Care for quick care. Check in now or walk-in for your appointment.
Seasonal allergies, also known as allergies rhinitis or hay fever, can occur at any time of the year, but it is more common in the fall and spring. Depending on the species, different plants release their pollen at other times of the year. Seasonal allergies can occur more than once a year, depending on your allergy triggers and where you live. Mold and pet dander can also cause allergic rhinitis symptoms.
“Allergies” is the more common name for seasonal allergic rhinitis. Based on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, it affects approximately 8% of the population.
Pollen, the typical cause of seasonal allergies, comes from plants pollinated by the wind, such as trees and grass. Therefore, pollen from insect-pollinated plants is less likely to cause allergies than pollens from other plants because they do not remain in the air for long periods. American Academy of Pediatrics defines an allergen as any substance that has a high possibility to cause an allergic reaction in a person.
Seasonal allergies can cause symptoms that are mild or severe. Most frequently encountered are:
- Sneezing – Scratching of the mucous membranes of the nose or throat results in sneezing. It can be highly inconvenient, but it is rarely a sign of a more severe problem. Sneezing can be caused by various factors, including pollen allergies (hay fever), mold, dander, and dust.
- Runny nose – Caused by mucus being expelled through the nose. It can be brought on by colder outdoor temperatures and the common cold, the flu, or seasonal allergies.
- Watery or itchy eyes – Light, itchy eyes frequently accompany coughing, runny nose, and other classic allergy symptoms. However, it is possible to develop eye allergies on one’s own. While colds can also cause watery eyes, they will not itch like they do with allergies.
- Ear congestion – Some of the causes of ear congestion include earwax compaction, changes in elevation, infectious diseases, and allergies. If ear congestion persists or if people experience symptoms of a severe ear infection, such as fever, they should see a doctor. While some causes are self-limiting, others require medical intervention.
- Shortness of breath
Asthma is common in people who suffer from allergies. Seasonal allergens can trigger asthma.
The best time to see a doctor
To alleviate symptoms, avoiding allergens and taking over-the-counter medications is all that is needed. Don’t give up if your seasonal allergies continue to bother you. Contact your primary doctor or visit an immediate care clinic if your symptoms persist despite over-the-counter medication treatment.
Your doctor may order skin tests or blood tests to identify the specific allergens causing your symptoms as a precaution. Testing can help you identify your triggers and determine which treatments are most likely to help you avoid them.
Allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) may be an effective treatment for some people. In this treatment, known as desensitization, small amounts of the allergens that cause your allergies are injected into your body regularly. These injections have a long-term effect on the immune system, which reduces the symptoms they cause.
Seek immediate medical attention if you are having shortness of breath or wheezing.
Hay fever’s most common triggers change throughout the year, depending on the weather.
Spring – Most springtime seasonal allergies are brought on by tree pollen. Birch trees pollen is a common offender in northern climates, where many people suffer from hay fever due to the pollen they produce. Cedar, alder, horse chestnut, willow, and poplar are some of the other trees found in North America that cause allergic reactions in some people.
Summer – Hay fever is named after the hay-cutting season, which traditionally occurs during the summer months and is associated with hay cutting. Allergies to grasses such as ryegrass and timothy grass and weeds such as clover and dandelions are expected during the summer months. Based on a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people who suffer from allergies are more likely to be triggered by grass than other pollen types.
Fall – During the fall, ragweed blooms. Ragweed belongs to the Ambrosia genus, which has more than 40 different species worldwide. Most of these are common to the northern and southern hemispheres, specifically North and South America. You can’t get rid of invasive plants like these. If you suffer from an allergy to ragweed pollen, you’ll likely experience severe symptoms.
Winter – Most outdoor allergens are dormant during the winter months. As a result, many people with hay fever find relief in the cold weather. People are spending less time outside, but they are also spending more time inside. Indoor allergens, such as mold, pet dander, dust mites, or cockroaches can trigger seasonal allergies.
Avoid seasonal allergens by taking precautions. For example, to cool your home in the summer, use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter rather than ceiling fans. Pollen forecasts are found on your local weather channel, and it’s best to avoid going outside if the pollen count is high. In the spring and fall, when your hay fever is at its peak:
- Keep your windows closed
- limit your time spent outdoors
- Wear a dust mask if it’s windy