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Resource Guide: Seasonal Allergies

7:21 PM, Apr 8, 2013   |    comments
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Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic

Symptoms of Allergies

There are some symptoms that are commonly associated with allergies such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Post nasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Itchy / Watery eyes

Less common allergy symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Low productivity/Poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Snoring

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

Depending on where you live, there are generally three pollen seasons.  The start and end dates of these seasons, as well as the specific plants, vary based on the climate:

  • Trees generally pollinate in the spring.  Birch, cedar, cottonwood and pine are big allergy triggers.
  • Grass releases its pollen in the summer.  Timothy and Johnson, and Rye grasses are examples of allergens in this category.
  • Weeds cause hay fever in the fall.  Ragweed is the biggest offender as it can grow in nearly every environment.

Seasonal Allergies: 4 Routes to Relief

1. Know Your Allergy Triggers

Two main culprits are to blame for many fall seasonal allergy problems:

  • Ragweed and other weed pollens.  Ragweed is a stubborn plant and grows easily in fields, along roadsides, and in vacant lots.  A plant can produce a billion pollen grains in a season, and the grains can travel up to 400 miles because they are so lightweight.
  • Molds.  Outdoor molds grow in heavy vegetation, hay and straw, and are found in raked leaves.  Outdoor molds increase after rain, too.

2. Learn Do-It-Yourself Measures

There are many steps you can take to eliminate or minimize your exposure to allergens and improve seasonal allergy symptoms:

  • Check pollen counts before you travel.  Consider traveling near the ocean or bays.  Pollen counts there are typically lower.
  • Protect your eyes.  Wear sunglasses outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen coming into the eyes.
  • Exercise in the morning or late in the day, when pollen counts are typically lower than at other hours.  Pollen counts are typically higher on a hot, windy, sunny day compared to a cool day without much wind.
  • Check your pets.  Pets can bring in pollen.  Consider rinsing off pets if they were outside on a high-pollen day.

3. Get Proper Treatment

An allergist or primary care doctor can recommend a variety of medications, some over-the-counter and some needing a prescription, to improve your seasonal allergies.

4. Beware of Foods That Trigger Your Symptoms

People with season allergies will have a cross-reaction to certain foods.  Beware that eating certain foods may trigger your symptoms.

Mayo Clinic

Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud

1. Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers

Remove clothes you've worn outside; wear a dust mask if you do outside chores; delgate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores.

2. Take extra steps when pollen counts are high

If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.

3. Keep indoor air clean

Use the air conditioning in your house and car.  Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier. 

4. Rinse your sinuses

Rinsing your nasal passages with distilled, sterile saline solution is a quick, inexpensive and very effective way to relieve nasal congestion.  Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from the nose.  Look for a squeeze bottle or a neti pot.  Use water that's distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered.

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