What Are Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies are sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis. These allergy symptoms happen during certain times of the year, usually when trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
The immune systems of people who are allergic to pollen treat these particles as invaders and release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them. It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergy symptoms.
People can be allergic to one or more types of pollen. The type someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen. For example, in the mid-Atlantic states, tree pollen is highest from February through June, grass pollen is highest from May through August, and weed pollen is highest from July through October so kids with these allergies are likely to have increased symptoms at those times.
Even kids who have never had seasonal allergies in years past can develop them. Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, though they usually do not develop before a child is 2 years old. Most people with seasonal allergies develop them by age 20.
When Should I See My Doctor
Most people are able to manage or relieve hay fever on their own. However, you should speak with your doctor about treatment options if your symptoms seem to be:
- persistent, meaning that you experience symptoms at least 4 days in a week, for at least 4 weeks or more
- moderate to severe, meaning that your symptoms affect your sleep and daily activities such as work, school, sport and leisure.
Your doctor can help you by asking you in detail about your symptoms, reviewing your home and work environment for possible triggers, and by assessing how intense your hay fever symptoms are and how much hay fever affects your day-to-day life. They can then organise further tests to investigate possible causes and help you find ways to manage or avoid hay fever in the future.
What Are The Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis
Hay fever symptoms can appear throughout the year. Outdoor allergies are worse in the spring, summer and early fall. In warm weather, weeds and flowers bloom, and pollen counts are higher. Indoor allergies, such as those that result from pet dander and dust mites, can get worse in winter because people spend more time indoors.
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- Nasal stuffiness , sneezing and runny nose.
- Itchy nose, throat and eyes.
- Headaches, sinus pain and dark circles under the eyes.
- Increased mucus in the nose and throat.
- Fatigue and malaise .
- Sore throat from mucus dripping down the throat .
- Wheezing, coughing and trouble breathing.
Also Check: Intolerance Medical Definition
What If It’s Coronavirus Symptoms
Coronavirus symptoms can look similar to seasonal allergies, but often include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. A subset of patients may complain of not being able to taste or smell, or experience diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, it might just be seasonal allergies.
You Can Catch The Coronavirus But Not Allergies
Coronavirus transmission occurs much like other respiratory infections dofrom the droplets of infected people. You can pick up the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs on you or on a surface you touch. This is why its so important, experts say, that you regularly and thoroughly wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, distance yourself from people when possible, and avoid touching your face with your hands.
Allergies, on the other hand, are not contagious. Theyre triggered when your immune systemfor reasons that arent fully understoodmistakes a harmless substance as a foreign invader and launches a campaign to protect your body. Cue the sneezing, coughing, itching, and general misery allergies bring.
One way to help determine if youre suffering with allergy symptoms or coronavirus symptoms is to take a trip down memory lane. Think back to last spring and the spring before and the spring before that. Do you typically have a runny nose and itchy eyes when the calendar flips from March to April? Thats a good indication you have seasonal allergies and not the coronavirus. According to Dr. Ditto, allergies typically dont develop later in life. So if youre an adult and are suddenly experiencing symptoms like a runny nose or a cough, its unlikely theyre due to allergies if you never had them before.
You May Like: Hydrochloride Allergy Medicine
Sore Throat From Allergies: Symptoms And Remedies
Among the allergy symptoms that can affect day-to-day life, getting a sore throat from allergies can be especially irritating. Together with a runny nose and itchy eyes, a sore throat can cause discomfort and disruption to your routine.
Allergy symptoms of a sore throat can include a dry, scratchy feeling in your throat. It could be caused by different kinds of allergies, whether seasonal or something in your home that is affecting you.
There are various steps you can take to help manage or even reduce the symptoms.
Find out more about potential sore throat allergy remedies with our helpful guide.
Managing Your Hay Fever
Identifying the allergen/s causing the symptoms is an important part of managing hay fever. In some cases the cause may be obvious but in others your doctor will need to consider your medical history together with the results of allergy tests , which may require referral to a specialist.
Some medications may help relieve the symptoms of hay fever. Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice. You may be advised to try:
Also Check: Allergic Drugs Name
My Child Has Allergy Symptoms With A Fevernow What
Fevers aren’t caused by allergies, so if your child experiences a rise in temperature, something else is likely to blame. For example, viruses like the common cold or influenza cause fever as the immune system struggles to fight them off. Bacterial infections like strep throat might also lead to feverand so can ear infections, heat exhaustion, urinary tract infections, and more. Also, COVID-19 can present with fever and allergy-like symptomsmainly runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.
Always let your pediatrician know about any worrisome symptoms in your kid. They might need to treat the underlying cause of their fever with antibiotics. If applicable, they might also recommend a coronavirus test.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Hay Fever
Although hay fever doesnt cause any serious health problems, you should see your provider to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your provider can help you identify the allergens that are causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hay fever symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love, but effective treatments are available. Millions of adults and children manage hay fever with medications and lifestyle changes. Talk to your provider about steps you can take to relieve symptoms, breathe easier and feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2020.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis . Accessed 9/1/2021.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Rhinitis Overview. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- Wheatley LM, Togias A. Allergic Rhinitis. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jan 29 372:456-463. Accessed 9/1/2021.
Read Also: Allergy Tablets Non Drowsy
Nose And Eye Allergies: Age Of Onset
- Seasonal pollen allergies usually begin at age 2 to 5 years.
- The symptoms peak in school age children, teens and young adults.
- Pollen symptoms are rare in children under age 2. They require at least 2 seasons of exposure to the pollen.
- Children under age 2 who have chronic nasal symptoms have other causes. Examples are recurrent colds, large adenoids or cow’s milk allergy.
- Food allergies can start during the first year of life, but not pollen allergies.
The Difference Between Allergies & Colds:
When you have a bacterial or viral infection, your body will trigger an immune response. Chemicals called pyrogens, which are produced by white blood cells, cause the temperature in the body to rise. This is a normal inflammatory response that helps to kill off heat-sensitive bacteria.
Allergens, on the other hand, set off no such reaction. During an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines, which make you sneeze and cough. Histamines are only released during allergic reactions, which is why you shouldnt take anti-histamine medication for the common cold or flu.
Recommended Reading: Can Allergies Cause Chest Tightness
What Are Colds And Allergies
They have different causes. You get a cold when a tiny living thing called a virus gets into your body. There are hundreds of different types that can get you sick.
Once a cold virus gets inside you, your immune system, the body’s defense against germs, launches a counter-attack. It’s this response that brings on the classic symptoms like a cough or stuffed up nose.
The viruses that cause colds are contagious. You can pick them up when someone who’s infected sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most, your immune system fights off the illness and you should stop having symptoms.
It’s a different story with allergies. They’re caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless things, such as dust or pollen, for germs and mounts an attack on them.
When that happens, your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause a swelling in the passageways of your nose, and you’ll start sneezing and coughing.
How Can An Allergy Lead To Fever
One of the most common symptoms of allergies is nasal congestion. This congestion can trap bacteria in your nose, and cause sinusitis. It can also make you more susceptible to viruses, making it easy for you to catch the flu.
And you guessed it. Fever is a common symptom of both the flu and sinusitis.
So, if you have a rise in temperature or a fever, its probably due to another condition, not allergies. However, allergies can lead to that condition occasionally.
Recommended Reading: Allegra Vs Zyrtec For Hives
What Causes Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis occurs when your bodys immune system reacts to an irritant in the air. The irritants are so tiny that you can easily inhale them through your nose or mouth.
Allergens are harmless to most people. But if you have hay fever, your immune system thinks the allergen is intruding. The immune system tries to protect your body by releasing natural chemicals into your bloodstream. The main chemical is called histamine. It causes mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and throat to become inflamed and itchy as they work to eject the allergen.
Seasonal and perennial allergies can result from many allergens, including:
- Dust mites that live in carpets, drapes, bedding and furniture.
- Pollen from trees, grass and weeds.
- Pet dander .
- Mold spores.
- Cockroaches, including their saliva and waste.
Food allergies can also cause inflammation in the nose and throat. If you think youre having an allergic reaction to something you ate, get medical help right away. Food allergies can be life-threatening.
How Are Seasonal Allergies Treated
There are many ways to treat seasonal allergies, depending on how bothersome the symptoms are. An important part of treatment is knowing what someone is allergic to. Some kids can get relief by reducing or eliminating exposure to the allergens that bother them.
If certain seasons cause symptoms, keep the windows closed, use air conditioning instead of fresh air when possible, and stay indoors when pollen counts are high. It’s also a good idea for kids with seasonal allergies to wash their hands or shower and change clothes after playing outside.
If reducing exposure isn’t possible or doesn’t help, doctors may recommend medicines for allergy symptoms. These can include oral, nasal, and ocular antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. If these don’t help or a child has to take multiple medicines to ease symptoms, the doctor may recommend seeing an allergist. The allergist can decide whether allergy shots could help.
Read Also: Does Zyrtec Help With Allergic Reactions
How To Tell Seasonal Nasal Allergies From The Common Cold
- Symptoms happen during pollen season
- Had the same symptoms during the same month last year
- Hay fever symptoms last 6-8 weeks for each pollen. .
- Allergies: itchy eyes and nose. Not seen with colds.
- Colds: fever and/or sore throat. Not seen with allergies
- Both: runny nose and watery eyes. Can also have a cough with both, but less common with allergies.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hay Fever
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- an itchy, runny or blocked nose
- needing to breathe from the mouth
- always needing to clear your throat
- always feeling like you have a head cold
Less common symptoms of hay fever may include:
- interrupted sleep
- feeling tired during the day
- difficulty concentrating
- frequent sinus infections in adults
- recurring ear infections in children
You might only experience some of these symptoms, but still have hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Some of these symptoms can be caused by other diseases too.
Common allergens that may trigger hay fever symptoms include:
- grass, weeds and tree pollens
- animal fur or skin flakes
- moulds and fungal spores
- breads and cereals
- small animals
You may experience hay fever symptoms at certain times of the year , depending on the allergens to which you are sensitive. Hay fever and other allergies can also be affected by your genes.
Also Check: Claritin D Reviews
Can Allergies Cause Sore Throat
Sore throat and allergies often go together to compound the misery of people living with allergies. Typically, an environmental allergen causes nasal congestion and sinus drainage down the back of the throat, making it scratchy or painful. This irritation can cause coughing and throat irritation or even trouble speaking.
Some of the most common allergens that cause a sore throat include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Pet dander, particularly dog and cat fur
When To See A Doctor For Fever
A fever is what happens when the body is fighting off the germs of an infection or illness and while, yes, it can be scary , its not always cause for a trip to the doctor. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics , children should be seen by their pediatrician if theyre younger than 12 weeks and have a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher, or have a temperature of 104 F if theyre older.
Additional reasons to call the doctor when a fever is present, according to the AAP:
The fever is present for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2.
The fever is present for more than 3 days in a child 2 or older.
A child appears very ill, drowsy or is unusually fussy.
A child has been in a very hot place, like an overheated car.
A stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, rash or continuous vomiting or diarrhea is also present.
The child has had a seizure.
The child appears to be getting worse instead of better.
There are signs of dehydration present, such as dry mouth and fewer wet diapers.
The child already has immune system problems or is taking a steroid.
And of course, nobody knows your child better than you. If something isnt sitting well with you, feel free to give their doctor a call.
Don’t Miss: Over The Counter Rash Pills
Fever And Allergies Symptoms
The most common sign that you have an allergy is that it is short-lived and persists only as long as you are exposed to the allergen. If your symptoms persist, it may be that you have the flu or the common cold since they typically last longer.
However, itchy and watery eyes, which are common in allergies, are not signs of the flu or a cold.
How Can I Prevent Allergies
Preventing allergies means avoiding the things that trigger them. For seasonal allergy sufferers, that means the great outdoors.
- Stay inside when possible.
- Use air-conditioning when possible.
- Use high-efficiency air filters.
- Monitor allergen counts in your community and take allergy medication when the readings are high, even before symptoms start.
You May Like: Does Twix Have Nuts
Can Allergies Cause A Cough
Allergies can also cause you to cough. They can make the back of your throat tickle and cause sinus drainage that makes you very uncomfortable. These allergy symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable to severe. Patients with asthma may experience wheezing or shortness of breath along with a cough. A cough called by allergies is not contagious but it can certainly be annoying.
Patients with allergies often develop a chronic dry cough that lasts for weeks. You may experience a cough at different times of the year if you have hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis). Hay fever can cause you to sneeze, have itchy skin, watery eyes, and cough. The congestion you experience during seasonal allergies can also cause dark circles under your eyes.
A cough caused by allergies is much different from a cough caused by an infection. Asthma, whether its chronic or triggered by allergens, can also cause a cough.
However, if you experience a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, or other symptoms, its time to see your doctor.