Allergies can either be seasonal, during certain seasons of the year, or perennial that occurs throughout the year.1
Seasonal allergies come and go. 1,2
Pollen and grass (especially ragweed) is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies and are mostly released during summer and spring. Some other sources include sagebrush, pigweed, lamb’s quarters and tumbleweed.1,2 Certain species of trees, including birch, cedar and oak also produce highly allergenic pollen.2
Symptoms of seasonal allergies include:3
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose
- Temporary loss of smell
- Headache and fatigue
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Drainage from the nose down the back of the throat
- Sore throat or coughing
How to prevent seasonal allergies3
- Keep your house and car windows closed
- Limit the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high (midday and afternoon)
- Wearing a pollen mask or dust mask if you need to mow the lawn
- Rinsing your eyes with cool water or saline eyedrops to remove clinging pollen after you come indoors
- Taking a shower and changing your clothes after you work or play outside
Some treatment options to combat your seasonal allergies
The most effective treatment for any allergy is simply to avoid the allergen as much as possible, even if you are treating your allergy symptoms.1,4
When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system. 4
- Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes.5
- Oral or nasal decongestants help to unblock your nose allowing you to breath more freely. NOTE: Nasal decongestants are very addictive and should only be used for a few days. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms.1,5,6
- Nasal corticosteroids are a type of nasal spray that help to reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergies because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion.2
If you have bad seasonal allergies, your doctor may recommend that you have skin tests or blood tests to find out exactly what allergens trigger your symptoms and then recommend which treatment options are best for you. 5
Perennial allergies occur throughout the year.
Dust mites, cockroaches, dander from pets, molds are some examples of allergens that can cause perennial allergies.1,7
Decrease perennial allergies by using “mite-proof” bedding covers to limit exposure to dust mites and a dehumidifier to control mold. (If you smell mildew, you likely have mold.) Wash your hands after petting any animal and have a nonallergic person help with pet grooming, preferably in a well-ventilated area or outside. 6
Did you know that a thunderstorm can trigger allergies and even induce an asthma attack?
Thunderstorm asthma is triggered by a combination of grass pollen in the air and certain thunderstorm conditions.
It can occur when pollen grains are drawn up into the clouds as thunderstorm forms. The pollen grains absorb water, swell and burst open. Particles containing pollen are released and are so small that they can be breathed into the lungs.
The weather conditions can push these tiny particles down to ground level then along the ground in the winds that come ahead of the rain. 8
You are at a higher risk of getting thunderstorm asthma if you are already suffering from asthma (or had asthma in the past). If you get seasonal hay fever that is triggered by pollens you may also be at risk. 8
Some preventative measures to avoid a potential thunderstorm asthma attack: 8
- Monitor the pollen count in your area
- Stay indoors and close your windows
- Keep your reliever medication close by
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about a treatment option that is suitable for you.