If you don't have them, you know some one who does. The itchy, watery eyes and sneezing alone can make you miserable. We typically associate them with the seasons of spring, summer or fall; but what really are seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies are immune system responses triggered by exposure to allergens. The word "seasonal" implies that they occur at the same time of the year every year, if you remain in the same general location. The medical term for seasonal allergies is allergic rhinitis.
Seasonal allergy sufferers experience:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny, stuff or itchy nose
- Temporary loss of smell
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Drainage from your nose down the back of your throat
- Sore throat or coughing
Finding ReliefIf avoiding the items that trigger your seasonal allergies is impossible and over-the-counter medications just don't provide relief, there are additional options that can help to reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Nasal sprays - Many of these formerly prescription-only sprays have no gone over the counter, but some forms are still prescription only. Sprays will reduce the swelling and mucus in the passageways. The time it takes for nasal sprays to take affect varies from person to person, but allow for a couple of weeks for the spray to reach maximum effectiveness.
- Allergy shots - A type of treatment referred to as immunotherapy. Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the item you are allergic to. You receive these shots regularly for three to five years. Over the course of the treatment, your allergist will gradually increase the amount of allergens in each shot to help your body become more and more desensitized to the allergens. As your immune system builds a tolerance to the allergens, your symptoms will decrease.
- Oral tablets - A dried form of the allergy extracts used in allergy shots. These tables dissolve under your tongue. The first dose is taken in your allergist's office, but the rest are taken daily at home. Like allergy shots, the tablets involve teaching the immune system to tolerate the allergens. This type of therapy must begin four months before the season starts and continue until the end of the season. Right now, tablets are only available for grass and ragweed pollen, and dust mite allergen.