Insect Bites And Stings
Unlike typical seasonal allergy symptoms such as sneezing and congestion, insect bites and stings usually cause pain, itching, redness, and/or minor swelling around the affected area. Bites and stings can also lead to a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Anyone who has hives swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat trouble breathing or other significant symptoms following a bite or sting should seek immediate medical care.9
When people think of biting insects during the spring season, mosquitos often top the list, perhaps because they prefer temperatures similar to body temperatures.10 While bed bugs can cause problems indoors year-round, they also prefer higher temperatures so they may be more active as spring and summer commence.11
Among stinging insects, bees are one type that increase in activity in spring as they work to make their populations greater for the coming months.12
Experts Say The Spring 2022 Allergy Season Will Be A Bad One Here’s What You Need To Know
Look no further than the oak trees outside your home or office and you’ll know what time of year is coming our way.
Pollen has already started to accumulate, leading to a noticeable uptick in sniffs and sneezes. Much more is expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.
“Unfortunately, we’re expecting a bad allergy season in Houston this year especially this coming April,” says Dr. Omar Ahmed, an ENT doctor at Houston Methodist.
It’s not just Houston. Dr. Ahmed notes that allergy seasons are getting longer and worse across the country.
In Houston, the primary reason this season is predicted to be so bad is the relatively mild winter we just experienced.
“With a warmer winter comes a longer growing season for trees and grasses that produce pollen, meaning a higher concentration of pollen for us to deal with as it begins to bloom,” says Dr. Ahmed. “Pollen counts actually started rising as early as January, but more is coming in April and people should be prepared for that.”
Dr. Ahmed’s advice for handling a bad allergy season? Plan ahead.
“One of the best ways to deal with allergy season is to get ahead of it taking steps to prevent allergy symptoms and knowing how to treat them if they do arise,” says Dr. Ahmed.
Start by checking local pollen counts on your weather app and considering how the day’s pollen levels might affect your outdoor plans.
Still, allergy symptoms may strike, and Dr. Ahmed’s preferred first step might surprise you.
When Does Allergies Season Start These Are The Hay Fever Symptoms You Might Be Experiencing This Month
The best way to get on top of hay fever symptoms is to catch them early
Hay fever symptoms are set to be a topic on everyones lips as the weather begins to hot up in the lead-up to summer. For many, the warmer months bring a much-needed dose of sunshine but for others, climbing temperatures also signal something else: allergies season.
Characterized by key symptoms we may mistake for a cold, or even Covid-19 in recent times, those who suffer from allergies are set to experience the full brunt of hay fever in the weeks to come.
But given enough time, our experts say, you can fight back against allergies with some of the best hay fever natural remedies or over-the-counter medication. Its just about finding out about hay fever symptoms, like puffy eyes, as allergies season starts and getting prepared.
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Allergies In A Warming World
Big picture, we know that climate change will bring widespread environmental change to the Northeast, from coastal flooding to tick activity. Allergy season is unfortunately another item on that list.
Recent studies build the case that rising temperatures will cause tree pollen seasons that start earlier and last longer. And not only that, they will be more intense, Little said.
âThe total pollen counts, in terms of the density of pollen that is released over the course of the season, will go up,â he said. âHigher carbon-dioxide concentrations lead to more plant growth, and more plant growth means more vigorous plants and what plants like to do is to reproduce by releasing pollen and expanding.â
Efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be crucial for the future of New Englandâs allergy seasons, Little said.
For now, it may be as good a time as any to stock up on tissues and eye drops.
When Should You See An Allergist For Your Seasonal Symptoms
For many people with seasonal allergies, over-the-counter medications are enough to manage their symptoms. But if you find that those options aren’t enough for you, that the side effects associated with those medications are too severe or that your symptoms are getting worse, you should consider talking to your doctor or a board-certified allergist, experts told TODAY.
Additionally, if your symptoms are particularly severe or you have other conditions that allergies may exacerbate, such as asthma, it’s worth having an allergist in your corner to guide you through the options.
If you’ve already tried a bunch of over-the-counter medications, they may recommend prescription antihistamines or the asthma treatment montelukast. Or they might discuss the option of immunotherapy, which can be done with allergy shots or sublingual tablets that dissolve in your mouth.
The nice thing about allergy shots or tablets compared to other treatments for allergies is that “they don’t just treat the symptoms, they actually treat the underlying disease,” Azar said.
Immunotherapy treats allergies by exposing your body to small amounts of the compounds that you’re allergic to, the ACAAI explains. Over time, you’ll become less sensitive to that allergen ideally permanently. But allergy shots are an investment in both time and energy because they require repeated trips to your allergist’s office, likely for a few years.
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Why Do I Have Allergies
Pollen, from trees, grass or weeds, is released into the air to fertilize other plants. But sometimes they get into your nose and nasal passage.
If youre allergic, your immune system kicks in thinking the pollen is a hazard to your body. This is why your body sends out histamines into your blood thats when your nose starts running and your eyes get watery as your body tries to expel what it thinks is a danger.
Its a misfiring of your immune system by turning something innocuous into something it wants to fight off drastically, Waserman said.
Its genetic, too. If one or both of your parents has an allergy, youll probably end up with similar symptoms too.
Symptoms can start as early as childhood, in teenage years or even as an adult.
If youre not sure, simply get referred to an allergist for testing. You will be screened for common allergens, such as various types of pollens, cat and dog fur, dust mites, mould spores and more.
Do Patients Come To You With Common Misconceptions About Allergies
The most common misconception we hear is that someone who is allergic to cats or dogs can have a hypoallergenic pet. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. Theres also no such thing as a hypoallergenic human our pets can become allergic to us! We do understand how important pets are to families and work on interventions that can keep the family and pets together whenever possible.
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When Should I Start Taking Allergy Meds
Theres no point in waiting until youre miserable to take allergy meds. In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple of weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you notice symptoms, says Dr. Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, she adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds based on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if youre seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose too, look for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds.
Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they dont cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
Relieve Your Allergy Symptoms
It is impossible to avoid pollen altogether. Some people may find over-the-counter medications improve symptoms and quality of life. Oral antihistamines can help relieve the misery of sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. Decongestants can also be used to reduce congestion but should only be taken for a few days at a time. If allergy symptoms are significantly impacting your daily life, talk to a doctor or allergist for additional help.
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Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
Now that you are equipped with a seasonal calendar and knowledge of common allergens, you can prepare for allergy season 2022. Wearing a mask when outdoors will effectively prevent inhaling spores and pollen granules. You could also refer to a physician to know your actual allergies and take appropriate preventive measures. Take your allergies seriously, and you might do good on making 2022 your healthiest year yet!
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Do You Have Seasonal Allergies Or Covid
Having seasonal allergies is annoying at any time, but it creates some challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID out there, differentiating between the two has been difficult,” Corbett said, because there can be some overlap in the symptoms of allergies and a coronavirus infection.
Some of the symptoms can be similar because, with a viral infection, you’re going to have congestion and runny nose,” Azar explained. But there are some ways to differentiate the two conditions, he said.
For instance, despite the nickname “hay fever,” allergies don’t typically cause a fever, Corbett said. So, if you’re feeling congested and your temperature is up, that’s a sign you might have something other than allergies.
Also, if you have systemic symptoms, like body aches or a general feeling of being unwell, that’s another reason to think beyond allergies, Azar said. “Plus, with COVID, there’s some significant problems with people having reduced sense of smell and taste.”
If you have some ambiguous symptoms and you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, it’s definitely worth taking a COVID-19 test just in case.
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Long Pants And Long Sleeves
For allergic contact dermatitis, poison ivy reactions, and other skin-based allergies, try wearing long pants and long sleeves to reduce contact with allergy triggers.
Even if your spring allergies are mainly triggered by breathing in pollen, you can still limit the amount that comes inside with you by wearing long sleeve, long pants, and then immediately throwing them in the wash after youre done the yardwork.
What Do You Do If Youre Caught Off Guard Without Allergy Medicine
Heres a great, quick remedy treatment you can use in case you find yourself in a situation where you cant take medication or avoid your triggers.
First, check the pollen forecast. Then use nasal saline rinse or irrigation several times throughout the day during the worst of the tree pollen season. The saline irrigation removes pollen particles from the surface of your nasal passages, clears thick or crusted nasal drainage and soothes irritated nasal membranes.
There are a number of studies that found that patients with allergic rhinitis or chronic sinusitis who use regular saline rinses have less bacterial load and require fewer antibiotics. Using a rinse may also reduce your need for medication to control allergies.
You can buy saline rinse or irrigation kits at any drugstore and many grocery stores. These kits usually use a squeeze bottle or gravity to direct saline through the nasal passages. A common squeeze bottle technique is to position your head downward and rotated slightly to the left . Gently squeeze some of the solution into your right nostril the solution will come out through your left nostril. Now repeat on the other side.
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How To Manage Seasonal Allergies At Home
There are many over-the-counter medications you can use to treat your seasonal allergies at home. The most effective options on the market right now are nasal corticosteroid sprays, Azar said. These medications work by gradually reducing the body’s inflammatory response to allergens.
Remember that steroid nasal sprays take a while to produce their maximum effect. So you should ideally start using them before your symptoms appear. “We remind people think about Valentine’s Day as the time to consider restarting your seasonal allergy meds,” Blair said.
Even if you missed that deadline, those sprays are still, “in general, the most effective way to treat nasal allergy symptoms,” Blair added. “But a head start could help a lot.”
Starting early helps avoid another potential problem: clogged nasal passages. “Oftentimes, people will start medications like a nose spray, but by the time , they’re really congested and swollen,” Blair said. “All the tissue within the nose is pretty blocked, and it’s hard to get the sprays to where they need to go.”
Other options include oral antihistamines, such as fexofenadine , loratadine , cetirizine and levocetirizine , as well as antihistamine eye drops and nasal sprays. Depending on which allergy symptoms you experience most, it may make sense to take more than one of those medications, like using a nasal spray or eye drops, as well as taking an oral antihistamine.
Is It Too Early For Spring Allergies
In some parts of the country, spring allergy season can start as early as February, and last well into summer! So even though it may not technically be spring, your nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and a runny nose could very well show up earlier and stick around long past their welcome.
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When Does Allergy Season 2022 Start
Some allergens, like pollens, are seasonal. Tree pollen pops up in the spring , grass pollen arrives in the late spring , while weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to fall , says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network.
But if you’re one of the unlucky few whose allergies last basically all year round, there are a few other factors to consider. First, your seasonal allergies could be combining with your body’s reactions to indoor allergens like dust mites or animal dander, notes Dr. Ogden. You may also be bringing outdoor allergens into your homeyou can actually collect pollen and grass on your shoes, on your clothes, or even in your hair.
As a result, you may continue to experience symptoms even after allergy season is officially over, all the way from February to November. So pretty much every season except winter.
And climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Specifically, the season has been arriving 20 days earlier than it did in 1990, and contains at least 20 percent more pollen, the New York Times reported.
Tree And Grass Pollen
Many types of vegetation use pollen for fertilization. The larger, waxy type of pollen found on colorful flowers and disseminated by bees doesnât typically cause a lot of symptoms for people with allergies. The smaller, powdery pollen grains on many trees, grasses, and weeds, however, tends to be light and easily blown by the wind from one plant to another .6,7
Tree pollen is one of the first major allergy triggers to appear during the United States spring allergy season. Cedar trees can release pollen as early as December or January in the South, while most other regions donât experience an increase in this allergen until February with the onset of alder and maple tree pollen. Pollen from trees serves as one of the most common allergy triggers starting in March, and reaches its peak in April when pine, mulberry, and willow trees release their pollen.
While trees are usually the main source of spring allergies, they are not the only one. In certain locations, weeds and grasses can trigger allergy symptoms as early as March if spring comes early. By May, the pollen count of grasses such as rye and Bermuda typically begins to increase, but its not until June that grass pollen will typically reach its peak.
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Should I Take Or Give My Child Over
The over-the-counter allergy medications are both safe and effective. Steroid nose sprays, such as Flonase, Rhinocort and Nasacort, may help your nose and eye symptoms even if you dont have allergies. The 24-hour antihistamines, such as Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Zyrtec and Xyzal, will help but typically only if you have allergies. It is safe and effective to use a steroid nose spray and 24-hour antihistamine together. So, yes, even if youre not sure, it is safe to give these medications a try to see if they will help.
When To Seek Medical Help For Allergies
If youâve tried everything to keep your allergies under control but you cant find relief from your symptoms, speak to your doctor.
While symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing are not dangerous, if they become severe enough that you find it difficult to breathe, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.
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