Seasonal allergies are also referred to as hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergies occur during selected times of the year especially when outdoor molds produce spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release their pollen particles into the environment. Bodies of people who are allergic to these spores or pollen treat them as allergens. When this happens, the body produces histamine, among other chemicals into the bloodstream to counter them.
Production of histamine is what brings about the allergic symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, and watery eyes.
Different people can be allergic to different types of pollen or mold and it is important to note that the type of mold or pollen someone reacts to, determines the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of allergies
- Itchy nose and throat
- Nasal congestion
- Clear and runny nose
The above symptoms are always accompanied with itchy, watery and red eyes.
Foods That Keep Allergies at Bay
Far from taking antihistamines, there are several foods that can ease your allergic reactions; however, none of these foods should replace medicinal allergic treatments. There is no food that has so far been proven to be a cure but fruits and vegetables are beneficial to the body in general. Fruits and veggies are full of nutrients that keep the body healthy as well as protecting from seasonal allergies.
- Onions, pepper, berries, and parsley contain quercetin. Quercetin is a natural plant chemical that reduces histamine reactions.
- Kiwi is another fruit rich in vitamin C and also reduces allergic reactions.
- Pineapple also contains bromelain that reduces irritation in those that suffer from allergic illnesses such as asthma.
- Tuna, salmon, and mackerel contain omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. It is advisable for one to have two fish servings every seven days. A study that was conducted in Japan revealed that ladies who ate more fish had lower levels of hay fever.
- Kefir contains probiotics that prevent and even treat seasonal allergies. Probiotics are found in fermented foods.
- Local honey helps one build tolerance against pollen. A study found out that people who ate birch pollen honey had fewer symptoms of birch pollen allergy as compared to those who ate regular honey.
- Being hydrated is also important in combating allergies. Those who suffer from allergies require extra water to help in flushing mold and pollen out of the nasal passages, as well as tears to wash away dust and pollen from the eyes. The more hydrated a person is, the higher the dilution of allergens in the cells, thereby reducing the effect of histamine.
- Green tea is also high in antioxidants known as polyphenols. The antioxidants help in stabilizing the histamine-releasing cells.
- Dark green and leafy veggies are rich in anti-inflammatory carotenoids that limit the severity of seasonal allergies.
- Flax seeds also fight allergies because of the omega 3 they possess. Studies have revealed that consumption of omega 3 is linked to reduced allergic rhinitis.
- Garlic also has the ability to reduce allergic reactions by blocking the production of histamine.
It is estimated that about eight percent of American adults suffer from hay fever while an additional thirteen percent have sinusitis. These conditions usually worsen during the spring allergy season. A lot of patients develop hay fever as children even though many Americans develop such allergies during adulthood.
It is very simple to detect seasonal allergies because the pattern of symptoms is the same when one is exposed to allergens. You need to consult a doctor if you suspect seasonal allergies. The doctor will want to know about the symptoms, when they appear, and from that, he or she will be able to make a diagnosis. Alternatively, the doctor can carry out blood tests or allergy skin tests.
To test for allergies, a skin test is done in one of the following ways:
- An allergen is applied on the skin and the skin is pricked. If there is an allergic reaction, the skin will swell in that area.
- An allergen is injected into the skin and if a lump that is surrounded by a reddish area appears, then the test is positive.
Treatment of Allergies
Treatment depends on how severe the allergy symptoms are. If there are seasons that trigger the symptoms, have your windows closed and use air conditioning if possible. Furthermore, avoid being outdoors when the pollen counts are high. In case reduced exposure to the allergens proves ineffective, there are medicines that can help; they include decongestants, antihistamines as well as nasal spray steroids.
Lastly, a pollen count is worth knowing. They measure the amount of pollen in the air and it can help people with allergies how bad their symptoms could be on a given day. Pollen counts are higher in the morning and on warm, dry and breezy days and lowest when cold and wet.