Do you only cough and sneeze during certain times of the year? Then you may have seasonal allergies.
Commonly called “hay fever”, seasonal allergic rhinitis is when you experience allergy symptoms during certain times during the year. You usually experience these symptoms outdoors, where common triggers like mould and grass are found.
Although allergies aren’t seen as a serious condition, if they isn’t managed and treated properly, it could become severe and even lead to hospitalisation.
According to statistics by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Asthma accounts for 9.8 million doctor’s office visits, 188,968 discharges from hospital inpatient care and 1.8 million emergency department visits each year.
How do seasonal allergies work?
Hayfever is activated during different seasons and usually depends on your allergy triggers. Common triggers include pollen particles in the air released from trees, weeds and grass.
Seasonal allergies is also triggered due to seasonal changes. For example, after a thunderstorm, spores and pollen particles are released into the air. This increases the pollen count and may trigger your allergies. Climate change in recent years has also meant warmer weather. This also increases the pollen count in the air.
Different people are triggered by different things, therefore, everyone has different symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
- A runny or stuffy nose.
- Watery and itchy eyes.
- Itchy throat, sinuses and ear canals.
- Postnasal drainage.
- Ear congestion.
Manage your symptoms, ease your hay fever
Know your triggers
Prevention is better than cure, so knowing your allergy triggers is your best bet. To figure out what causes your allergies, pay attention to your symptoms. You could try using an allergy diary. Whenever you have any symptoms, write down the factors and events that may have caused them.
For example, if you have a runny or stuffy nose, check the weather outside. If it’s been raining or if it’s very warm. After checking this a few times, you’ll find a weather pattern.
Avoid allergy triggers
Once you are aware of your triggers, it’s time to take steps to avoid them.
- Check the weather channel or online forecasts for pollen predictions. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Use an air conditioner instead of a ceiling fan in warm weather. Pollen and dust could circulate more in your home if you use a fan.
- Keep your windows closed as often as possible.
- Wear a dust mask on windy days.
- Avoid cigarette smoke as it can worsen your symptoms.
Know how to treat your symptoms
In some cases, seasonal allergies are unavoidable. Knowing how to treat your symptoms can help.
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can ease symptoms.
- Nasal sprays can help with nasal issues like congestion and a stuffy nose.
- If your symptoms are severe, talk to your doctor. He may give you a prescription.
- Your doctor may suggest an allergy injection. It helps to desensitise your immune system to allergy triggers.
- If you’re asthmatic, it’s important to use preventative and quick relief medication. The preventative medication can help prevent symptoms like an asthma attack and quick relief medication can help ease symptoms.
- Day-to-day medication may come in the form of an inhaler (asthma pump), tablets or liquid medicine.
- For severe asthma symptoms, a trip to your doctor could be recommended which may include an injection called an immunomodulatory. It’s given if you don’t respond to other drugs or your inhaler.