A change in season can brighten your days with vibrant new colors. But blooming flowers and falling leaves can usher in more than beautiful backdrops. Airborne substances that irritate your nose can blow in with the weather. When sneezing, itchy eyes, or a runny nose suddenly appears, allergies may be to blame.
What are allergens?
Allergies arise when the body’s immune system overreacts to substances, called allergens, that are normally harmless. When a person with allergies breathes in allergens—such as pollen, mold, pet dander, or dust mites—the resulting allergic reactions in the nose are called allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
Pollen: Each spring, summer, and fall, plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species.
People with allergic rhinitis or asthma aggravated by pollen have symptoms only for the period or season when the pollen grains to which they are allergic are in the air
Most of the pollens that generate allergic reactions come from trees, weeds, and grasses. These plants make small, light, and dry pollen grains that are carried by wind
Mold: Molds are found both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor molds are carried by the wind, like pollens. There are many different types of molds, but only some seem to cause health problems.
Other Indoor Allergens: Allergic rhinitis and asthma also can be triggered by exposure to house dust, for example, during household chores such as vacuuming or sweeping. Dust is a mixture of substances and may contain allergens from house dust mites, pets, mold, cockroaches, and rodents. Cockroach and mouse allergy are common in low-income, urban areas and are key causes of asthma-related illness among children,
How to avoid or prevent contact with allergens?
Even when you know your triggers, avoiding allergens can be difficult. When pollen counts are high, stay inside with the windows closed and use the air conditioning. Avoid bringing pollen indoors. “If you go outside, wash your hair and clothing,” Salo says. Pets can also bring in pollen, so clean them too.
For indoor allergens, keep humidity levels low in the home to keep dust mites and mold under control. Avoid upholstered furniture and carpets because they harbor allergens. Wash your bedding in hot water, and vacuum the floors once a week.
Allergies run in families. Children’s chances of developing allergies are higher if parents have them. While there’s no “magic bullet” to prevent allergies, experts recommend breast feeding early in life to build a strong immune system right from infancy.
Diagnosis & Therapy
If your symptoms become persistent and bothersome, visit your family physician or an allergist. They can test for allergy sensitivities by using a skin or blood test. The test results, along with a medical exam and information about when and where your symptoms occur, will help your doctor determine the cause.
Sometimes, avoiding allergens isn’t possible or isn’t enough. Untreated allergies are associated with chronic conditions like sinus infections and asthma. Over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants can often ease mild symptoms. Prescription medications and allergy shots are sometimes needed for more severe allergies. Talk with your doctor about treatment options.
Allergy relief can help clear up more than just itchy, watery eyes. It can allow you to breathe easy again and brighten your outlook on seasonal changes. It may seem ironical , but it is true that early and frequent exposure to dust and pollens from childhood in fact increases a person’s defense against these allergies and asthma symptoms. So go out and brave the weather right from the beginning to ensure that your body can acclimatize anytime anywhere easily
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