Allergies Treatments Treatmentsseasonal Test

Seasonal allergies are allergic reactions that typically happen only at certain times of the year. Seasonal allergies are commonly caused by allergies to pollens in:

  • grass
  • plants
  • trees
  • weeds.

Because the pollen in these plants is only present at certain times of the year, such as the summer or springtime, the allergies are only present during that time frame.

One of the most common types of seasonal allergies is hay fever. Symptoms of hay fever include:

  • coughing
  • itchy eyes
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • watery eyes.

Allergy symptoms can also contribute to asthma, causing the airways to constrict, making breathing more difficult. Hay fever is most common in May and June, but can be experienced at other times of the year. Hay fever is caused by pollens in trees, grasses and weeds.

Springtime Allergies

Wind-borne pollen from trees cause springtime allergies. Symptoms of congestion, runny nose, and sneezing are most present on windy days or dry days when pollen is most present in the air. Pollen counts are usually highest in the early morning.

Pollen counts are published and forecasted online and in local newspapers. If you have springtime seasonal allergies, check forecasts and take medication before symptoms flare. You can avoid going outdoors on days when pollen counts are particularly high.

Summertime Allergies

Allergies to pollens in grasses are the most common types of summertime allergies. If you have a grass pollen allergy, taking an antihistamine prior to exposure to grass can prevent symptoms. If a person is allergic to tree pollen, they may also experience an allergic reaction at a campfire if that type of wood is being burned. Your doctor or allergist can test you for summertime seasonal allergies and help you make a treatment and prevention plan.

Fall Allergies

Seasonal allergies in the fall may be triggered by ragweed pollen, which travels through the wind for hundreds of miles. Mold and dust mite allergies are also common in the fall.

With children typically going back to school in the fall, allergies are often realized when children have allergic reactions to cafeteria food. Although common food allergies like peanut butter, milk, and eggs are not necessarily seasonal, researchers have noticed a rise in allergy symptoms for food allergies in the fall.

Winter Allergies

Microscopic dust mites are the cause of most winter seasonal allergies. Although dust mites are present in the summer, they cause serious problems in the winter because people spend more time indoors. With a drop in humidity levels, mite feces become airborne. Dust mites accumulate in places where the human body creates moisture. Antihistamines like Benadryl may be very helpful in helping people cope with symptoms of winter seasonal allergies. Allergy shots may be helpful for those with severe symptoms.

Testing for Seasonal Allergies

Your doctor or allergist can perform tests for diagnosing seasonal allergies, either through skin or by blood. Allergy testing for seasonal allergies can help you anticipate symptoms you may experience at certain times of the year. Allergy shots may also be helpful in reducing the body’s reaction to certain allergens.

Resources

Mayo Clinic. (2008). Springtime allergies: Solutions for a problem in full bloom. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/springtime-allergies/AA00060.

Reuther, M. (2008). Winter allergies often mean dust mites. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from the Sun Gazette Web site: http://www.sungazette.com/page/content.detail/id/504797.html?nav=5007.

WebMD. (2008). Fall allergies. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from the WebMD Web site: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/fall-allergy-relief.