Cough, Cold, Sneeze commence the arrival of the time of year when you particularly fall prey to allergies. These seasonal allergies come and hit really hard on your body. Your body has to suffer an allergic reaction. A running nose, a feverish body and a lot of other unsettling symptoms are very common among the infected individuals.

seasonal allergies

So, whether can it be prevented? Can you save yourself from severe seasonal allergies? The answer is yes. And, the only way to prevent a seasonal allergy is by being proactive and taking the right measures.

The Data on Seasonal Allergies





Do you know how much of our population got affected from seasonal allergies every year? It is estimated that about 10%-30% population globally experience seasonal allergies [1]. And, in America alone, the seasonal allergies hit almost 8 in 100 Americans every year [2]. Don`t you think this is a huge number? If yes and it surprises you, then you must have wished to save yourself from the trap of these allergies. So, how do you protect yourself from getting a seasonal allergy?

What is Seasonal Allergy?

The seasonal allergy is an immune reaction of your body against the invasion of allergens. Your immune system misunderstood the generally harmless allergen as a dangerous invasion. This leads to an immune response which makes you experience the allergic symptoms. The symptoms can range from being mild to becoming serious.

what is seasonal allergy

The Seasonal Allergy is also known as Hay fever.  It is most potent during the hay cutting season. The wind pollinated plants emits pollen during the hay cutting season. During this season, an allergic reaction from the pollen of these plants is very common.

What are the causes of Seasonal Allergies?

A seasonal allergy occurs as a result of a response produced by your body, when it overreacts to an outdoor allergen. The body releases a chemical known as histamine and transport into your blood stream. This chemical then produces symptoms which you relate as seasonal allergy.

seasonal allergy causes

The seasonal allergies today are not just confined to hay cutting season only. Rather they stay around you the whole year. There are different wind pollinated plants which emit their pollen at different times of the year. Let us now see the different time of the year, when there is a sure shot chance of getting a seasonal allergy.


Spring Allergies:

Spring Allergies are mostly caused by the pollinated trees. This warm season brings severe seasonal allergies. The pollen from the pollinating trees are very light can be easily airborne by the spring breeze. The pollen count during the spring season remains very high and can easily affect your health. Apart from pollinating trees, grass allergy is also a common site during the spring season. The common pollinating trees during spring season include

  • Birch
  • Elm
  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Sycamore
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Walnut
  • Poplar
  • Hickory
  • Ash
  • Cypress

Fall Allergies:

The fall season is the season of ragweed allergy. The pollen from the ragweed flowering plants can make you suffer an allergic reaction if you are sensitive to ragweed. The ragweed plants are invasive and are very difficult to control. The fall allergies are followed by severe allergy symptoms. And, it hits you hard when you are enjoying the best of the warmer season. Apart from ragweed allergy, you can also get allergies during fall from other pollen emitting plant which include

  • Nettles
  • Mugwort
  • Parietaria
  • Fat Hens
  • Plantain Flower
  • Sorrels
  • Burning Bush
  • Pigweed
  • Cocklebur
  • Tumbleweed
  • Russian Thistle

Winter Allergies:

Winter Allergies may seem a new term for you. But they do exist in your vicinity. Most allergens during the winter season stay dormant as plants don`t pollinate at this time. This is why individuals prone to allergies get relief in the winter season. But still, there are some people who suffer seasonal allergies during winter. It is because the outdoor allergens might got dormant but you still have indoor allergens. You can easily get allergies from these kinds of winter allergens if you are prone to seasonal allergy.

  • Allergy to Mold
  • Dust Allergy
  • Allergy from Pet Dander
  • Allergy from Cockroaches



What are Seasonal Allergies Symptoms?

The Seasonal Allergies symptoms appear to be same as of the cold on the first hand. But it is important for you to able to self diagnose the allergic rhinitis symptoms. The major seasonal allergies symptoms include

seasonal allergy symptoms

  1. Nasal Discomfort:

If you are affected with seasonal allergy, you are sure to experience nasal discomfort. You will end up with congestion, running nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, and loss of smell.

  1. Respiratory Issues:

Respiratory issues are common during hay fever. You will get trouble breathing from nose and end up breathing from mouth or start wheezing. In severe cases, allergic asthma is also reported.

  1. Problems in Eyes:

Seasonal Allergies are often associated with eye problems. Itchy eyes, puffiness, conjunctivitis and watery eyes are common in the hay fever.

  1. Skin Problems:

A seasonal allergy can cause you to suffer from severe skin irritation. This includes allergy hives and eczema.

  1. Rare Symptoms:

If you have got a severe seasonal allergy, you may sometime also experience allergy cough, fatigue and sore throat.


How to distinguish your seasonal allergy from a cold?

It is important that you understand the difference between getting seasonal allergy symptoms from that of cold. Knowing the difference is a sure way to treat your seasonal allergies. So what separates a cold from a seasonal allergy?




  • Cold is a viral infection whereas seasonal allergy is an immune reaction from allergens.
  • Body ache and headache are exclusive symptoms of cold only and is not present during a seasonal allergy. Some people may also think that allergies cause fever but this is never a case with the seasonal allergy.
  • A cold stays for shorter time whereas an allergy can last for a very long time. A cold at max can stay up to 14 days. But, a seasonal allergy can last until the allergen stays in your vicinity.

Seasonal Allergy Treatment

The seasonal allergy treatment is a two way approach. It is not just limited to taking medicines or having a natural remedy. Rather, you are also required to make some lifestyle and dietary changes to ease your allergy symptoms. The first part of seasonal allergy treatment is to manage your allergies. The second line of treatment for seasonal allergy is undertaking the medication or some natural remedy.

seasonal allergy treatment

Lifestyle Changes

The main cause of having a seasonal allergy is the contact of your body with the allergen. In order to avoid an allergy, you must take steps to manage your interaction with the allergen. These lifestyle changes then becomes important if you need protection from seasonal allergies.

    • You should keep a close eye on the weather reports about the pollen count or pollen levels in and around your area.
    • Keep your home windows and doors shut to avoid interaction with an airborne allergen.
    • Limit the time you stay outdoor at least when the pollen levels are high in the air. If you are not able to avoid going out, you must use a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask[3].
    • Limit the use of ceiling fan in hot temperatures and instead, use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter. An air conditioner with a HEPA Filter is effective in trapping smallest of harmful particles in the air
    • Make a habit of always taking a shower after reaching home from work or after playing outdoors at least during hot weathers.
    • You should definitely avoid smoking during the time of seasonal allergies. Smoking increases your chance of getting allergies[4].
    • Inspection of your surroundings becomes necessary. You should take steps to eliminate indoor allergens like mold, dust, pet dander and cockroaches from your surroundings .
    • You must wash your bedding at least once a week with hot water.
    • Fix leaking spots and clean up mouldy areas from your surroundings.
    • Get rid of stuffed toys, upholstered carpets and furniture as they are common site for allergen interaction.


Dietary Modification

Making dietary modification in your diet can help you prevent the allergic rhinitis symptoms. Cutting on certain types of food from your diet certainly reduces the aggravation of the allergic reaction. And, eating the right and best food for allergy can alleviate your seasonal allergy symptoms.

Foods to avoid during a seasonal allergy:



  • Raw Fruits and Vegetables:

Eating raw fruits and vegetables is something you should avoid if you are sensitive to seasonal allergies. Your body often mistakes the protein contained in these raw fruits and vegetables as an allergen. And, it can trigger seasonal allergy symptoms.

These proteins can sometimes cause cross reaction in the body. This cross reaction is also referred as an oral allergy syndrome [5].  An oral allergy syndrome can make you experience a scratchy throat and an itchy mouth. So, avoiding these fruits and vegetables becomes important to avoid a cross reaction like a pollen does.

Type of Pollen Foods to Avoid
Birch Pollen Apple, Carrot, Cherry, Celery, Hazelnut, Almond, Kiwi, Plum, Peach, Pear
Grass Pollen Tomato, Melons, Oranges, Peaches, Celery
Ragweed Pollen Sunflower Seeds, Melons, Zucchini, Banana, Cucumber

 

  • Certain Dairy Foods:

The Mucus present in your body is produced to protect you from the foreign invasion of the allergens. When your body comes in contact with allergen, mucus helps you get rid of allergen in form of running nose. But there are certain dairy foods that can make you feel thickened mucus limiting its capability of running clear and fast. You must then avoid these dairy products to alleviate allergic rhinitis.

The full fat milk and the by-products like cheese and yogurt make you feel that your mucus is obstructed. These also increase inflammation in your body. Hence, full fat dairy products must be avoided if you are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms.

  • Histamine Promoting Foods:

When you experience a seasonal allergy, your body produces histamine to counter the effect of allergen in your body. It is the histamine that produces allergic rhinitis symptoms in your body. Eating foods that promotes histamine production is sure to affect your health negatively.

The foods which are fermented, contain vinegar or is an alcoholic beverage increase histamine production in body. These foods include tomato, mushrooms, avocados, egg plant, processed meat, smoked fish and cheese. You should also cut on beer and wine to reduce histamine production in your body.

Foods to eat for fighting seasonal allergies:



  • Quercetin Contained Foods

Quercetin is an antioxidant which has antihistamine effects on the body. Eating foods containing quercetin has proven effective in treating seasonal allergy symptoms naturally [6]. The foods which contains quercetin include Onions, Parsley, Peppers, and Berries.

  • Vitamin C Foods

Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine which is good enough to alleviate allergic rhinitis symptoms. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, taking 2000 mg of vitamin c daily can ease your allergy. The vitamin c is a complete anti allergic vitamin.  It works up as an antihistamine, immunity booster and has anti inflammatory effects. The foods rich in vitamin c include mango, berries, broccoli, cantaloupe, and peppers.

  • Omega 3 Rich Foods

The omega 3 foods contains EPA, and DHA which posses anti inflammatory benefits. Eating these foods can protect you from getting an allergy [7]. The omega 3 rich foods you should eat for allergy includes Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon, Kale, Spinach and Brussels sprouts.

  • Foods containing Bromelain

Bromelain is an active enzyme which is a powerful anti inflammatory and anti swelling compound. It is very effective in reducing allergic sensitization and inflammation in nasal airways [8]. You can take advantage of this compound to treat congestion and stuffed nose. Pineapple is a super food which contains bromelain. Eating pineapple can help you in treating your allergy.

  • Probiotics

Probiotics play a crucial role in preventing allergies. Having Probiotics have a direct influence on your immune system. The Probiotics should contain a combination of healthy bacteria [9]. Not all Probiotics can alleviate allergy symptoms. Choose a probiotic having an active live culture. Kefir, Sauerkart and Kimchi can help you deal with the seasonal allergy symptoms.

  • Local Honey

The intake of honey may improve the seasonal allergy symptoms [10] [11]. It is advisable that you start taking honey just before the seasonal allergy takes it drive. Having it before seasonal allergies gives you tolerance against airborne pollen.



Medication

The best approach to prevent seasonal allergy is to reduce your exposure with allergens. But there can be instances when you can`t avoid going out and get reacted with allergen. In this case, the medication becomes important to provide relief from seasonal allergy symptoms.


  • Decongestants

The decongestants are very popular drugs which instantly relieve your stuffy or clogged nose. They come in forms of sprays, pills, nasal drops or in form of liquid syrup.  These drugs shrink your swollen nose lining and hence provide you relief from a clogged or stuffy nose.

The decongestants are effective but should be used under guidance. You should stay away from this drug if you have a problem of diabetes, thyroid and high blood pressure. Also, if you are suffering from prostate issues, taking this drug can cause problems during urination. You need not to take this drug more than 3 days in a row.

The Best Decongestants
  • Antihistamines

The antihistamine medications are effective in suppressing the seasonal allergy symptoms. Taking antihistamine greatly reduce the immune response of your body towards allergen by reducing histamine.

Taking anti histamine is sure to alleviate allergy symptoms. But they can make you experience drowsiness, blurred vision, confusion, restlessness and trouble in urinating. Don`t forget to consult your doctor first before starting any anti histamine.

The Best OTC Antihistamine



  • Corticosteroids

The Corticosteroids are steroids that treat various types of allergies. The major use of this steroid is to cure inflammation in your body due to allergies. These steroids mimic the cortisol response in the body and helps in excreting the cortisol hormone to reduce inflammation.

You should consider steroids only when you get a severe allergy. It should be taken only under medical guidance. Taking these steroids without consultation can land you up with serious side effects. The side effects include nose or throat irritation, nose bleeding, dizziness, headache, decreased immunity and breathing difficulties. It can even make your allergic asthma worse.

  • Medical Treatments

If you are down with severe seasonal allergy, your doctor can also prescribe you immunotherapy. The immunotherapy helps in desensitizing your immune system to harmful allergens. Allergy shots injections are given during the immunotherapy to expose you to allergens. It will help in decreasing your body response towards allergens.



The Bottom Line

The best bet to end seasonal allergies is to take preventive measures in order to reduce your exposure to allergens. But if you still got a seasonal allergy, don`t wait to consult a doctor to treat your symptoms.

Bibliography

[1] C. W. Schmidt, “Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies in a Changing Climate,”
[2] “ALLERGY STATISTICS,”
[3] “NIOSH air filtration rating,” Wikipedia.
[4] “Investigating the causal effect of smoking on hay fever and asthma,”
[5] “Oral Allergy Syndrome,”
[6] N. Gregory S. Kelly, “Quercetin,”
[7] M. A. Jun Miyataa, “Role of omega-3 fatty acids and their metabolites in asthma and allergic diseases,”
[8] J. S. M. S. C. A. C. A. J. A. A. P. M. E. T. R. L. G. P. N. J. T. M. C. M. S. R. S. T. a. L. K. S. Eric R. Secor, “Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells,”
[9] “Probiotic combination improved allergy symptoms, quality of life,”
[10] A. M. J. W. C. C. L. I. Asha’ari ZA, “Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis,”
[11] R. Nall, “Honey for Allergies,”