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What Helps With Seasonal Allergies

Risks And Side Effects

Wearing a mask may help with seasonal allergy symptoms

Antihistamines, corticosteroids and decongestants, as well as other OTC allergy medications, such as nasal sprays and allergy shots, are most often prescribed by doctors to counteract the effects of histamines produced by the body. However, they do have side effects, and sometimes they take weeks to begin working.

The most common side effects caused by allergy medications include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dryness of the eyes, nose and mouth
  • Restlessness

In children, side effects include:

  • Nightmares
  • Upset stomach
  • Impaired cognitive function

Pharmaceutical allergy medicines, such as nasal sprays and allergy shots, simply arent for everyone. Remember, they dont cure the allergies they just treat the symptoms.

In fact, many arent recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those with high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, or with thyroid problems.

Manage Irritation With Other Remedies

If youre wary about giving your pet a pill, there are other ways to soothe your pets symptoms, including natural remedies.

  • Flea and tick preventative. Ensure your best friends skin wont be irritated by fleas.
  • Anti-itch sprays or creams. Topical treatments will provide temporary relief, giving your pet a break from all that scratching. Only use products that are made for pets, as products marketed for humans may be ineffective or toxic to your furry friend.

If your pets allergies are severe, your veterinarian may prescribe steroids to help control inflammation. We know watching your animal suffer from allergies can be just as difficult as dealing with them yourself. No matter what method works best for you, we hope your pet is back to wanting extra belly scratches for pleasure not allergy relief in no time!

Pet Seasonal Allergy Symptoms To Look For

Dogs and cats show similar allergy symptoms as humans, yet they experience them most through their skin. Excessive scratching likely means itchy, irritated skin. Here are a few more symptoms to watch out for:

  • Scratching and biting their coat or skin
  • Red, inflamed, or infected skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Compulsive paw licking in dogs
  • Boot scoots or licking their anal glands
  • Chronic ear infections or red, waxy ears
  • Respiratory issues, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, or wheezing

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Reduce Exposure To Allergens

As the popular adage goes, prevention is better than cure. To manage your seasonal allergies, try to minimize your exposure to the particles youre allergic to. Its best to remain indoors during dry and windy days as pollen and other irritants may be floating in the air. If you have to go outside, wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth.

Its recommended to wear surgical masks or those marked N95, as these filter 95% of particles and are made according to the standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

If possible, ask someone else to do outdoor chores that may involve allergens. You can also wear sunglasses or eyeglasses when going outside to minimize your exposure to irritants.

Itching Sneezing And Runny Nose

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Oral antihistamines block histamine, a chemical your body releases in response to allergens. Antihistamines are available in pill form and nasal sprays .

If you know when your seasonal allergies get triggered, you can try taking an antihistamine to manage your symptoms. Antihistamines might provide enough relief for those with mild symptoms, but since antihistamines only help manage your symptoms for short-term relief, you also might discover you need additional treatments to get long-term relief from your allergies.

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Salmon And Other Oily Fish

Fish is part of the super healthy Mediterranean diet that is best known to reduce inflammation and promote heart health. There’s even evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids from fish could bolster your allergy resistance and even improve asthma by reducing lung inflammation too.

Cook fish on the grill or broil it indoors. There are hundreds of recipes available. You can eat it hot or cold and pair salmon with a healthy green salad for a delicious summer lunch.

More Mediterranean Less Margarine

A 2007 study found that children on the Greek island of Crete who followed a Mediterranean diet were 66% less likely than those who ate a less traditional diet to have symptom of allergic rhinitis . That’s not surprising, considering the popular diet is high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods like nuts, seeds, fish, and fruits and vegetables.

Compared to the typical Western style of eating, the Mediterranean diet is also much lower in omega-6 fatty acidsa compound found in red meat, vegetable oil, and margarine that promotes the formation of inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. In fact, children in the study who ate a lot of margarine were more likely to have allergies and asthma than those who ate very little.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

Seasonal allergies are a fact of life for many people, but effective treatments are available. If you havent spoken with your healthcare provider about your allergies before, its a good time to have the conversation. If you notice changes to your allergy symptoms or the times you experience seasonal allergies, you should also talk with your healthcare provider.

Any time you’re experiencing facial or throat swelling, trouble breathing, or any other concerning symptoms, call 911 or seek medical help immediately.

How Bad Can Spring Allergies Get

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People can be very miserable. Their eyes can become itchy and swollen, their noses get congested, they sneeze a lot and if they have asthma, their lungs can become irritated.

Dr. Eidelman says if you have allergic rhinitis or nasal allergies, things can get really bad and may affect your quality of life quite significantly.

People might have trouble working or going to school. They may have trouble sleeping and they often feel tired. Even if they try to get enough sleep, its not normal sleep. So, work presenteeism can be quite common. This is when people show up to work or school but they cant function at 100% because theyre kind of out of it like they feel when they have a cold or the flu.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The annual cost from all of this is around $18 billion per year.

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When Do Seasonal Allergies Appear

Seasonal allergies are often associated with the springtime, but they can appear in any season depending on the pollen an individual is allergic to.

Common allergens and when they crop up include:

  • Tree pollen, which typically appears in spring
  • Grass pollen, which appears in late spring and summer
  • Mold spores, which often trigger seasonal allergies in the spring, summer and fall
  • Ragweed pollen, which appears in the fall

Some folks may experience seasonal allergies year-round if they are allergic to something in each season.

What To Eat To Help With Seasonal Allergies

Image Credit:Unsplash. This image has been modified.

What did a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of a food that costs pennies a day for ragweed allergy sufferers find?

A great deal is asked of our immune system. It is firstly required to respond rapidly and violently to invaders, but at the same time limits both the duration of its response and the collateral damage to the host. Anaphylactic shock, which is defined as a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause deathlike when someone with a peanut allergy dies after eating oneis an example of an overactive immune response. The flipside is an underactive immune response, which can put you at risk for infection.

If you suffer a severe trauma, for example, its not enough to get to a level 1 trauma center. Death related to sepsis, or blood infection, is still a major problem, and a primary factor in the development of sepsis is depression of host-immune response after severe injurythat is, depression of our own immune system, caused by the stress of the trauma. Researchers tried to stimulate immune function in trauma victims by injecting them with beta glucan, a type of fiber found in yeast. Most of the subjects were car crash victims, but some suffered from gunshots and stab wounds. Not only did the beta-glucan group suffer less sepsis overall, but they also had five times fewer complications and no deaths, compared to nearly one in three dying in the control group.

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How Many People Suffer From Allergies

According to Dr. Eidelman, one out of five people has some sort of allergy and the intensity can range from very mild to severe.

He says people with mild allergies tend to just grin and bear it. They may not have any particular need for medication. If their allergies are a little bit more intense, they may take over-the-counter medications as needed.

But as you get further along that spectrum, the severity of the illness can become disabling. People feel very sick, they cant get out of bed, they cant sleep it can be intense. So, it all depends on where they are on that spectrum of intensity, he says.

Oranges Peppers And Strawberries

Natural Relief for Seasonal Allergies

Vitamin C is thought to help control allergy symptoms like omega-3s, it’s best to get your C from foods, not supplements. Oranges, red peppers and strawberries are some of the fresh fruits best known for their vitamin C content. It’s also in broccoli and other foods that contain quercetin.

“Taking a vitamin tablets might not be as effective as having one or two oranges per day,” Dr. Nsouli said. “Having the vitamins in the foods that you eat is much more effective than saying, ‘OK, I’m going to take a multivitamin, end of story.’ It’s very important to focus on the foods that are fresh.”

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Turn On Your Air Conditioner

When it comes to relief from allergies at home, it doesnt get much simpler than cranking up the AC. While opening your window for some fresh air is great, it can also let pollen and other irritants into your home, which could trigger your allergy symptoms11.

If you have a central air conditioning unit, using it all year round may well help with your allergies, as it dehumidifies the air to filter out aggravating particles12.

During the warmer months, relying on AC instead of opening all your windows could ease your symptoms in two ways. First, by preventing allergens from getting into the air in your home during the peak pollen season, and secondly, dispersing them when they do.

Unproven Methods To Test For Allergies

A number of methods claim to test for allergies, but they have not been medically or scientifically proven. They can be costly and could lead to dangerous avoidance of certain foods. The organisation representing allergists recommends that you do not use certain methods to have potential allergies tested. These methods include:

  • cytotoxic food testing
  • reflexology
  • Vega testing.

Always speak with your doctor if you are thinking of using a complementary medicine or therapy to test for allergies.

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Tip #: Avoid Extended Time Outdoors When Pollen Counts Are High

Chances are if the weather outside is rainy, cloudy or windless, your allergies wont act up as much. Only those with extreme sensitivity to pollen or mold will have symptoms when the pollen count is low. However, if the days warm, dry and windy, theres a good possibility youll be symptomatic.

To determine what the pollen and mold levels are in your geographic area, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunologys National Allergy BureauÔ provide an allergen guide with accurate pollen counts.

Since pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning, with peak times in the middle of the day, its best to venture out in the late afternoon or early evening. If youre planning on doing yard work, try wearing a mask. Those marked N95 are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as being 95% effective at filtering out particles.

Also, if youre planning on exercising outdoors, consider going after work and make sure to shower in the evening so your hair and skin are clean and youre not sleeping in pollen.

Ensuring your home is a safe haven from pollen may require a little work, but it will help you keep allergens at bay:

How Do I Know If I Have Seasonal Allergies

2YH: Masks may help seasonal allergies

It can be tricky to distinguish if you have a common cold or seasonal allergies

Symptoms of allergies can include:

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy eyes, sinuses, throat or ears

  • Ear congestion

  • Headache

One of the major distinguishing symptoms is itching or puffiness, which is less commonly associated with cold or respiratory virus symptoms.

If your symptoms dont go away after a week or two, its pretty likely that seasonal allergies are the culprit.

Allergies can emerge at any time in your life. You often see allergy symptoms start in childhood and peak during young adulthood, but for some people, symptoms can actually disappear in later adulthood.

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Adding Probiotics To Your Diet

“Yogurt and other foods that contain probiotic bacteria help maintain the microbiome of the intestinal tract, and they tend to be anti-inflammatory as well,” says Dr. Young. “There’s a little bit of evidence that these foods can be helpful for treating allergies.”

A 2017 study from the University of Floridasponsored by a supplement manufacturerfound that people with mild to moderate allergies reported fewer nasal symptoms and better quality of life after taking a supplement containing the probiotics lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Other studies have reported promising results, too, although experts say more research is needed before real recommendations can be made.

Diagnosis Of Pollen Allergies

If you have allergic symptoms that seem to appear at certain times of the year, you should visit your doctor, who will ask some questions about your allergic reactions. You can also discuss your record of your symptoms. To diagnose your allergy, your doctor may refer you to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.

Clinical immunology/allergy specialists can test for allergies using a number of methods depending on the type of potential allergy. To test for an allergy to pollens, the allergist may use a skin prick test or a blood test for allergies. Information about evidence based allergy testing is available on the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website.

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Avoiding Triggers Be Aware Of What Sets You Off

People focus on the highs and lows of pollen counts, says Dr. James Sublett, president of ACAAI. What they dont realize is that a high total pollen count doesnt always mean you will have allergy symptoms. The pollen from the plant you are allergic to may not be high. The key is to know what youre allergic to, and how to treat your particular symptoms.

Different kinds of pollen are prevalent at different times of the year, as well as varying from location to location. Between January and April, pollen is typically released from trees including pine, ash, birch, elm and poplar. During the summer months, grass pollens dominate, and in the fall, weed pollen is most prevalent.

People can determine whether they have an allergy or not by consulting their primary care physician and undergoing allergy testing. Dr. Andrew S. Kim, an allergist from the Allergy & Asthma Centers in Fairfax and Fredericksburg, VA, told MNT that sometimes people confuse having allergies with the flu or common cold.

Allergies may share some similarities with sneezing and sniffling but the length of time is a big difference. Allergy symptoms usually last for weeks and months and patients typically complain of itchy nose, throat and eyes as well, he said.

To reduce the chances of an allergic reaction, it is recommended that you stay inside when pollen counts are at their highest. These usually peak around the morning hours and maintain high levels during the afternoon.

What Is A Pollen Allergy

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Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Many people know pollen allergy as hay fever. Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Each spring, summer and fall, plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Most of the pollens that cause allergic reactions come from trees, weeds and grasses. These plants make small, light and dry pollen grains that travel by the wind.

Grasses are the most common cause of allergy. Ragweed is a main cause of weed allergies. Other common sources of weed pollen include sagebrush, pigweed, lambs quarters and tumbleweed. Certain species of trees, including birch, cedar and oak, also produce highly allergenic pollen.

Plants fertilized by insects, like roses and some flowering trees, like cherry and pear trees, usually do not cause allergic rhinitis.

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Natural Ways To Combat Seasonal Allergies

If there is a second thing I despise after green tea, it has to be unwelcomed, unnecessary seasonal allergies. And look at the irony! I cannot even help myself with a cup of green tea as its taste makes me want to vomit. So my allergy journey has been quite hectic which is why I have the absolute liberty to comment on how these seasonal allergies can be dealt with. Rather a very kind friend of mine who happens to be one of the best allergy specialists in Rawalpindi Pakistan has been my complete encyclopedia of how seasonal allergies are regulated.

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