Commonly known as “hay fever,” seasonal allergies are inflammations of the mucous membranes which line the nasal passages and are caused by a particularly sensitive or over-reactive immune system’s defense mechanism which is adversely reacting to allergens such as pollen or spores that invaded the body through the nose, mouth or eyes. Therefore, these conditions last only for as long as pollens from blooming trees, flowers, grasses and weeds and spores from mold are present in the air. For the most part, floras emit pollen during the spring and fall seasons which are the pollination periods of the majority of plants. However, the exact time of the year and the duration varies from one geographic location to another.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies are not dangerous and they rarely lead to complications. But they are indeed very unpleasant and can sometimes even become disruptive to normal life activities. Most symptoms become apparent within 5 or 10 minutes of exposure to the allergens and they typically include sneezing; dry and unproductive coughing; wheezing; itchy sensations on the roof of the mouth or at the back of the throat; swollen sinuses which cause a stuffy nose and headaches; an irritated and runny noses; scratchy, watery and reddened eyes due to a secondary condition called allergic conjunctivitis; reduced sense of smell and taste; and disturbed sleep which may then cause irritability and bad tempers.
Facts about Seasonal Allergies
Sensitive persons may develop seasonal allergies at any stage of their lives but, on the average, these develop in preteen years.
Statistical studies indicate that seasonal allergies are equally present in males and females and that no culture or ethnicity is more prone than any other. However, seasonal allergies tend to run in families and they, therefore, have a strong genetic factor.
An estimated 40 million people in the United States alone suffer from seasonal allergies and the annual cost of treatments has long surpassed the $1 billion mark.
Preventing and Treating Seasonal Allergies
Preventing or minimizing seasonal allergies can often be accomplished by staying confined to indoor environments which are controlled by air conditioning and most particularly between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. when the pollen counts are at their highest. If remaining indoors is unrealistic, it is advisable to wear sunglasses and if feasible, to cover the mouth and nose in any way possible such as with a mask, handkerchief, tissue paper or even a hand.
Those who suffer from seasonal allergies and know that weed pollen is among what they are sensitive to, they should avoid eating melons, bananas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, chamomile and anything that contains Echinacea.
When an attack of seasonal allergies comes on, there are various ways to treat the symptoms:
Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed allergy medications such as antihistamines and/or nasal decongestants can tremendously help relieve symptoms.
If other allergies are present throughout the year in addition to seasonal allergies, allergy shots may be good solutions to keeping symptoms at bay.
Some natural ways to ease symptoms of seasonal allergies are:
Although research has not been able to substantiate them, many claim that herbs such as nettles, goldenseal and butterbur greatly reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
4. Spicy Foods.
Ingesting spicy foods such as cayenne pepper, hot ginger, fenugreek, onions and garlic help thin mucous secretions and thus clear nasal passages.
Grape seed extract in combination with vitamin C have shown to be very helpful.
6. Nasal Washes.
Saline nasal washes and sprays flush away pollen and reduce symptoms.
Acupuncture and acupressure therapies have proven to be effective in significantly relieving symptoms of season allergies.