Seasonal Allergy Information:
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that occur during certain times of the year, usually when outdoor molds release their spores or 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. The release of these chemicals cause allergy symptoms.
Tree pollination begins in February and lasts through May. Grass pollination from May to June, and weeds from August through October. Children with these allergies are more likely to have increased symptoms during those times of the year. Seasonal allergies can start at almost any time, but they usually develop by 10 years of age and reach their peak in the early twenties, with symptoms often disappearing later in adulthood.
Symptom Check: Is it a cold or allergy?
Symptom Cold Allergy
Cough Usually Sometimes
General aches and pains Sometimes Never
Fatigue Sometimes Sometimes
Itchy eyes Rarely Usually
Sneezing Usually Usually
Sore throat Usually Sometimes
Runny nose Usually Usually
Stuffy nose Usually Usually
Fever Rarely Never
*Adapted from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2008
There is no real cure for seasonal allergies, but it is possible to relieve symptoms. Start by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens. During allergy season, keep windows closed, use air conditioning if possible and change your air filter often.
If reducing exposure to allergens is not possible or is ineffective, medicines can help ease allergy symptoms. There are many non-drowsy antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops available as a prescription and over the counter. Many of these medicines can be taken at home once a day.
** It helps to reduce the severity of symptoms by starting medication about a month before pollination occurs and to take medication regularly.**