Taking Control During Allergy Season

Allergic reactions occur when your body has an immune response to a foreign substance, such as a food, medicine or animal. If you have seasonal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, the trigger for your allergic reactions is pollen. Pollen is produced by plants during spring, summer and fall, and it is spread in the air.

Background on Allergy Season

For many people, spring, summer and fall are ideal seasons for outdoor activities. For individuals with hay fever or seasonal allergies, these times can be dreadful. Seasonal allergies usually lead to nasal congestion, a runny nose and sneezing. You may also experience wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, and asthma attacks may occur if you do not treat your allergies.

A nose, ear and throat doctor, or otolaryngologist, can diagnose seasonal allergies with skin tests and blood tests.

Keep Yourself Safe

  • Avoid pollen producers. Each region in the U.S. has its own set of pollen-producing plants. Learn to recognize the ones in your region, and try to stay away from them. Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy grass, ragweed, oak trees and elm trees are particularly well-known for producing pollen.
  • Follow the pollen count. Weather services and allergy organizations publish pollen counts to indicate the amount of pollen in your area. Pollen can spread for miles, so the pollen count can be high even if you if you are not very close to pollen-producing plants. Some days you may be better off staying indoors.

An ear, nose and throat specialist can definitively diagnose your allergies and provide strategies for minimizing your allergic reactions. Once your allergies are diagnosed, allergy season will be easier to handle.

Sources: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/TOPICS/ALLERGICDISEASES/POLLENALLERGY/Pages/default.aspx, http://pollen.com/allergy-weather-forecast.asp