Warmer weather means flower buds and blooming trees, and if you are one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means bothersome symptoms.
Warmer weather means flower buds and blooming trees, and if you are one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis, can make you miserable. Seasonal allergies develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment, usually during spring, summer or fall when certain plants pollinate. Depending on your allergy triggers and where you live, you may experience hay fever in more than one season. You may also react to indoor allergens, such as mold or pet dander.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies range from mild to severe. The most common include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery and itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, ear congestion, and postnasal drainage. Many people with hay fever also have asthma. If you have both hay fever and asthma, your seasonal allergens may trigger an asthma attack.
Trees are responsible for most springtime seasonal allergies. People with hay fever often react to the pollen of the Birch tree. Other allergenic trees in our area include cedar, alder, horse chestnut, willow, and poplar.
The best medicine for hay fever and year-round allergic rhinitis is avoidance of allergens that trigger symptoms. Take steps to avoid seasonal allergens. For example, use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter to cool your home in the summer, rather than ceiling fans. You can check your local weather network for pollen forecasts and try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high. It is also important to avoid cigarette smoke, which can aggravate hay fever symptoms.
If you suspect you have seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor. To learn more about managing seasonal allergy symptoms, join our FREE virtual webinar with Nishi Elangbam, MD, Chestnut Hill Family Practice, on Thursday, April 29, at noon. Registration is required. Visit CHWellnessEvents.com to learn more and register.
Catherine M. Brzozowski is Director of Communications and Marketing at Chestnut Hill Hospital