Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms Peak Times And Management
As many as 60 million Americans live with seasonal allergies. If you find yourself with itchy eyes, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and coughing during a particular season, then you may have seasonal allergies.
You do not have to suffer and avoid the outdoors. Many allergy treatments are available.
Understanding what is causing your allergy symptoms is crucial. Then you can partner with your healthcare provider to develop a plan to treat your symptoms.
How To Diagnose Seasonal Allergies
When visiting your doctor, make sure to advise them of your symptoms, when they occur and the suspected allergen. The visit may result in a clinical diagnosis from your doctor that you have an allergy based on the information provided. However, in some circumstances, doctors will want to diagnose a seasonal allergy with a skin test or an allergen-specific immunoglobulin test. With a skin test, typically a small amount of the suspected allergen is placed on a persons skin and pricked with a needle3. After the skin test the doctor will wait to see if the person develops a wheal and flare as a response. An allergen-specific immunoglobulin test can also be conducted to help diagnose an allergy3.
Natural Remedies For Seasonal Allergies
At this time of year, many people are suffering from seasonal allergies. The symptoms can include itching, sneezing, congestion and runny nose, headaches, red or watery eyes, and so on. They can vary from mild to severe, acute to chronic.
Seasonal allergies, sometimes referred to as hay fever, result from exposure to spores or pollen released into the atmosphere by fungi, grasses, trees, and other plants. That plant material is mistaken for an invasive protein by your bodys immune system, leading to the production of chemicals like histamine. Histamine attempts to attack or expel the invader, resulting in the bothersome symptoms described above. Those who experience seasonal allergies are also intolerant to certain foods which they cannot easily digest. The poorly digested food is often regurgitated back into the respiratory tract leading to many of the allergy symptoms noted above. The big food culprit is dairy products followed by eggs, poultry, red meat, bread/wheat, certain nuts, and alcohol. With the immune system becoming increasing compromised with continued consumption of the biggest food culprits, the person become more sensitized to other food triggers and environmental triggers.
1) Hydration through Water
When the respiratory and digestive systems are dehydrated, the immune system will cause a rebound effect leading to nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and/or coughing. Do the following in order to optimize your hydration:
2) Saline nasal rinses
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How To Prevent Dog Allergies
Less Time Outside
Your dog may not be as pleased with this option, but keeping your dog indoors more during peak allergy season is a great way to limit their exposure to allergens.
Make this more fun for your dog by coming up with creative ways to keep them engaged indoors, such as playing games, giving them special attention throughout the day, and helping them release extra energy through indoor exercises.
When you take your dog outside, make sure to wipe them down with a damp cloth to prevent them from bringing more pollen and allergens indoors. Pay special attention to cleaning their feet. This will help them to avoid getting allergens into their eyes, nose, and mouth when they scratch.
When theyre not playing, dogs certainly love their naps! Help your dog deal with their seasonal allergies by regularly cleaning their bedding.
Dogs tend to press their face into their blankets or beds, which creates a good opportunity for allergens to irritate their skin, eyes, ears, and mouth further. Help them avoid this by frequently cleaning their dog beds and swapping their blankets out as much as possible. Of course, having an extra clean blanket or two on hand will make this even easier!
Bathe Regularly & Watch Their Feet!
Depending on your dog, they may love or hate this suggestion!
To prevent the need for a foot soak, you could also place dog booties on your dog before going outside. Then all you need to do is remove your dogs shoes before they come back inside!
Butterbur To Treat Seasonal Allergies:
Another interesting allergy treatment involves the herb butterbur. This botanical medicine has been used to treat symptoms of migraine headaches, asthma, and allergy. It has anti-inflammatory activity and blocks the formation of compounds called leukotrienes .
These rascals cause all sorts of mischief in the nose, including itching, sneezing, swelling, and congestion. In some respects, leukotrienes may be even more of a problem than histamine. Leukotrienes contribute to the inflammatory cascade that underlies both allergy and asthma. The prescription asthma and allergy drug Singulair also works by inhibiting leukotriene formation.
Swiss researchers compared butterbur with the antihistamine cetirizine in a randomized, double-blind study. They found that both products were equally effective at controlling symptoms, but butterbur was significantly less sedating than Zyrtec .
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Avoiding Exposure To Allergens
The best way to keep your symptoms under control is often to avoid the things you’re allergic to, although this is not always practical.
For example, you may be able to help manage:
- food allergies by being careful about what you eat
- animal allergies by keeping pets outside as much as possible and washing them regularly
- mould allergies by keeping your home dry and well-ventilated, and dealing with any damp and condensation
- hay fever by staying indoors and avoiding grassy areas when the pollen count is high
- dust mite allergies by using allergy-proof duvets and pillows, and fitting wooden floors rather than carpets
Are There Ways To Reduce Your Allergy Exposure
Here are several ways to minimize your exposure to seasonal allergies:
- Pay attention to daily pollen and mold spore levels, so you can avoid outdoor activities as much as possible when counts are high. To check out the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunologys allergen tracker, .
- Begin taking medications before the start of the allergy seasonwhen pollen, grass, ragweed, or mold counts soar.
- Shut the windows and doors in your home, office, and car to seal out pollen.
- Wear a hat when outdoors or wash your hair before bed to keep pollen off your pillow and away from your face.
- Change your clothes after spending time outdoors to minimize your exposure to pollen. Studies show that half of the pollen that accumulates on clothing remains even if you try to shake or brush it off before you go indoors.
- Avoid mowing the grass or raking moldy leaves if those are your triggers, or wear a mask when doing so.
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How To Treat Seasonal Allergy Symptoms At Home
Before treating allergies at home, one must understand why allergies happen? Allergies happen when the bodys immune system responds to a foreign substance. This immune response is triggered based on a persons genetics because every individual is different and becomes allergic to different substances like pollens, dust, pet hairs, even flowers, and foods.
These symptoms happen when our immune system starts producing antibodies to counter these allergic substances. I personally believe all these autoimmune diseases happen due to allergic reactions, autoimmune problem triggers when the immune system mistakingly identifies any part of the body as harmful. This is the very same scenario with allergies because repetitive allergies mean our immune systems memory is weak, and it gets triggered after some time.
So if you face allergies in every season, you must take extra care of your health.
Do Patients Come To You With Common Misconceptions About Allergies
The most common misconception that we hear about allergies is that although someone is allergic to cats or dogs, their pet is hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. We understand how important pets are to families, however, and work with families on interventions that work best for the family.
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The 10 Best Herbs For Allergies
Seasonal allergies are a common occurrence in todays world. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, around 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies each year, or
Seasonal allergies are a common occurrence in todays world.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, around 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies each year, or around 15% of the population.
This article looks at the scientific research behind the best herbs for allergies.
Tip : Use Nasal Sprays And Steam
For many people, pills will not be enough to manage the many symptoms of seasonal allergies. Nasal sprays, both medicated and nonmedicated, are an important part of managing congestion and post-nasal drip. Nasal steroid sprays relieve inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages caused by allergies. This can help make breathing easier. Saline sprays moisturize dry nasal passages and loosen mucus congestion.
Try a daily steroid nasal spray like fluticasone or triamcinolone acetonide , and consider adding a regular saline nasal spray or a moisturizing spray like Pretz that can be used multiple times per day as needed. Steroid sprays will take a few days to kick in, so consider starting these early along with your antihistamine.
Severe congestion also may warrant the use of steam from a humidifier or steam machine or a neti pot to really clear up accumulation in the nasal cavities and sinuses.
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Tip : Recognize Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergies mainly affect the eyes, nose, sinuses, and mouth, but not everyone will experience the full array of symptoms. An itchy roof of the mouth, hives, and watery eyes are classic allergy symptoms, but others can mimic signs of infection. If your symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, cough, red or watery eyes, or sinus congestion and pain dont go away after a week or two, you may be reacting to seasonal irritants.
These irritants vary from person to person. What triggers one persons allergies may not trigger them in another. And they can vary by the time of year. Knowing when your symptoms are at their worst can help you get an idea of what you may be allergic to.
In early spring, tree pollens are the most likely culprits. In later spring and the beginning of summer, grass pollens are at their highest point. Weed pollens like ragweed hit people hardest in late summer. If your symptoms are bad all year round, they may be the result of allergens in your home or work environment, like dust, mold, or pet dander.
A persistent cough or sore throat are two of the most common allergy-related complaints patients report in our practice. But these symptoms also are red flags for infections like the flu or strep throat. Come see us to determine if you have allergies or an infection if you experience a persistent cough, sore throat, or one of these symptoms:
- Body aches
- New rashes
Can Dogs Have Seasonal Allergies
Yes! Many owners dont realize that dogs are just as susceptible to seasonal allergies as we are. Spring and summer are a prime time of year for seasonal allergies to hit with everything from pollen to grass to the increased risk of mold during warmer months affecting our dogs.
Allergies are miserable for anybody, and nothing is worse than watching your favorite furry friend suffer from them. Unlike humans, our dogs are much more prone to itchiness or flaky coats when they suffer from allergies.
Unfortunately, theres not much we can do to prevent seasonal allergies. However, we can change their lifestyle to help them cope more effectively with their seasonal allergies.
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I Have Bad Seasonal Allergies What Are My Options
There is no reason to suffer even if your symptoms are really awful. If you have tried many over-the-counter options and are getting little-to-no relief, make an appointment with a board-certified allergist. Discuss prescription medications as well as allergen immunotherapy.
While these options may not eliminate your symptoms, they can help reduce them to a manageable level.
How To Alleviate Allergies In Children
Lets look at allergy relief for children in greater detail. The following treatments can be used to help your children find relief.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines are the basic over-the-counter treatment for allergies. They arent used to prevent allergic reactions, but they can be used to reduce histamine levels and allergy symptoms. Make sure to talk to your doctor if youre wanting to give these to younger children. As we mentioned, children as young as two years can take them.
The antihistamines made for children are designed so they dont cause drowsiness or hyperactivity in children, but youll still want to monitor them to make sure these side effects arent an issue.
Prescriptions: If over-the-counter antihistamines arent cutting it, you may want to consider prescription meds. Talk to your pediatrician about your childs allergy symptoms to see if prescriptions are worth looking into. Typically these will come in the form of nasal sprays or chewable or liquid medications. These prescription meds will be stronger and likely wont have to be administered more than once per day.
Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays can be used to reduce inflammation over time and alleviate symptoms of a runny and stuffy nose. Youll need to use them daily to get the full effects.
Eye drops: Eye drops can help clear the eyes of pollen, helping to reduce itchy and watery eyes.
Finally, theres immunotherapy. This is the best method to help a child achieve more long-term allergy relief.
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Common Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies In Dogs
Before you look into how to treat dog allergies, its important that you identify what common symptoms of seasonal allergies dogs experience. Unlike humans, dogs tend to suffer from more skin-related problems, like itchiness and flaky or irritated skin. Watch out for common symptoms like:
- Unusual and frequent scratching Seasonal allergies can cause many skin discomfort, particularly increased parts of their body such as their ears, tail, and toes.
- Itchy, watery eyes Like humans, this is a common allergy symptom in dogs.
- Red or irritated skin Watch out for irritated skin, especially in areas of their body that may be rubbing against the ground or grass, like their belly.
- Sneezing Sneezing results from a disrupted respiratory system from inhaling irritants like pollen.
- Discharge from their nose This is one way that dogs immune systems attempt to defend them from the allergens theyve been exposed to.
- Serious reactions Your dog may try to scratch or bite their skin for relief, making them susceptible to bacterial infections.
If your dog shows more extreme reactions, like vomiting diarrhea, hives or swelling, we strongly recommend reaching out to your veterinarian.
Do Natural Remedies For Seasonal Allergies Work
If you have mild allergy symptomsmeaning it feels like you have a slight cold but youre not 100% miserablethen trying certain natural remedies for seasonal allergies at home may be worth a shot before you turn to allergy medications. Here are some common ones to consider:
This is an important one! Understanding the cause of your symptoms plays a vital role in seasonal allergy management, according to Beth Corn, MD, associate professor of medicine and clinical immunology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She recommends getting a skin allergy test if possible. There are numerous allergy tests, but the common skin prick test involves scratching or poking your skin with the various allergens and waiting to see if you develop a reaction, such as redness, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It takes a minute, and within 15 minutes you know what you are allergic to, Dr. Corn tells SELF. Once you have this information, you can do your best to minimize contact with your personal allergy triggers.
To do this, keep your windows closed and, if its too warm, use air conditioning to stay cool if you can. We know this is a bummer, but letting air in also invites allergens into your homewhich is exactly what you dont want. Be sure to also check your window sills and frames for condensation, which can contribute to mold growth.
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A Guide To Seasonal Allergies In Dogs
What you need to know about identifying and treating seasonal allergies in dogs
Everything we create is factually accurate and biased toward science meet our team of experts
Sniffling and sneezing are normal annoyances for humans during the spring and fall seasons, but your dog may be bothered by seasonal allergies too. If youre noticing your four-legged friend scratching more than normal or catching them with a runny nose, its possible seasonal allergies are to blame.
Heres how to identify seasonal allergies in dogs, and how to help your pup manage those annoying sniffles, sneezes, and itches.
What Seasonal Allergy Management Approaches Are Available
In addition to antihistamines, seasonal allergies can be managed with other types of medications.
- Leukotriene modifiers treat seasonal allergic rhinitis. They are designed to block leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are the chemical involved in inflammation and swelling of the airways. The medication helps relieve both nasal congestion and swollen nasal passages.
- Mast cell stabilizers prevent the release of histamine that causes inflammation. They can ease symptoms such as runny nose, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, postnasal drip and itchy eyes.
- Anticholinergics treat seasonal allergic rhinitis and relieve nasal symptoms. They help by minimizing the formation of mucus.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays prevent and soothe inflammation in nasal tissues and airways. They are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
- Allergen immunotherapy helps build a patients tolerance to allergens. It also can help reduce or eliminate symptoms. In allergen immunotherapy, the patient is given a gradually increasing dose of the allergen. This is done on a regular schedule, until a maintenance level is reached.
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