Illustration of pollen near nose causing seasonal allergies

Seasonal Allergies

Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as seasonal allergies, pollen allergies, or hay fever, is an especially prevalent affliction across the globe. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 10-30% of the global population are beset by allergic rhinitis. Most people do nothing to treat their hay fever, but there are some steps people can take to lessen symptoms.

 

What causes seasonal allergies?

First of all, seasonal allergies refer to an allergy to pollen. Pollen is a fine powdery substance that comes from trees, grasses, weeds, vines/shrubs, and flowers. It’s carried from plant to plant often by insects, animals, and even the wind. When transported by the wind, pollen is easily inhaled and can thus cause allergic reactions. Below is a chart of which plants commonly cause seasonal allergies:

 

Trees Grasses Weeds Flowers

Vines/Shrubs

  • Birch
  • Hazelnut
  • Cedar
  • Alder
  • Olive
  • Willow
  • Plane
  • Hornbeam
  • Pecan
  • Pine
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut
  • Willow
  • Palm
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Timothy
  • Ryegrass
  • June
  • Johnson
  • Orchard
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Redtop
  • Salt Grass
  • Fescue
  • Bermuda
  • Nettle
  • Mugwort
  • Ragweed
  • Goosefoot
  • Sorrel
  • Cocklebur
  • Russian Thistle
  • Sagebrush
  • Amaranth (pigweed)
  • Chamomile
  • Daisies
  • Goldenrod
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Sunflowers
  • Wisteria
  • Juniper
  • Cypress
  • Jasmine Vine

 

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

There are many common symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as:

  • Watery, itchy, and/or red eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion (runny nose)
  • Coughing
  • Increase in mucus
  • Headaches
  • Asthmatic reactions
  • Swollen dark circles under the eyes

 

How can I manage seasonal allergies?

Although pollen allergies are not curable, some suggestions for managing seasonal allergies could include:

  • Figuring out which plant you’re allergic to. An allergist can conduct either a Skin Prick test or a blood test to figure out which plant’s pollen(s) affect you. Once known, you could learn and try to avoid this plant when possible (i.e. for allergies to plants that bloom in summer, you could try to limit outdoor activities in summer when pollen counts are high).
  • Vacuuming/sweeping twice a week to get rid of any allergens sitting on/in your floors.
  • Cleaning bookshelves, vents, or other common places where pollen or dust can collect.
  • Washing your hair after being outside to clean allergens out.
  • Using an air purifier.
  • Keeping all your doors and windows shut to keep allergens out.

 

When should I see a doctor for my seasonal allergies?

Usually, seasonal allergies do not require a visit to the doctor—many people live with this affliction and although annoying, it is generally manageable with the tips above. If your symptoms become unusually severe, if a medication you’re using to curb the symptoms is causing undesirable side effects, or you’re experiencing symptoms such as chronic nasal congestion, ear infections, or wheezing, you should speak with a doctor regarding treatment. If you are experiencing such symptoms, please call (888) 824-5580 or click here to schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor today.

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