Dr. Ch. Darisüren & N. Erdenebileg
Seasonal allergies, like other allergies, develop when the body’s defense system (immune system) becomes sensitized and overreacts to a foreign substance (called an allergen) in the environment to defend itself – that typically causes no problem to other people.
Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. Some antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you’re exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies release a number of immune system chemicals, such as histamine, that cause allergy symptoms, thus inflaming your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to a potentially life-threatening medical emergency known as anaphylaxis. While most allergies can’t be cured, a number of treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Allergy to pollen is called hay fever, which is caused when pollen is dispersed through the air. Because pollen is fine, it can be carried for great distances through the air current. It also is easily inhaled as it comes in contact with your nose, mouth and nasal passages. If you have a pollen allergy, you may be affected by pollen in different allergy seasons from different types of plants.
Seasonal allergy may cause:
• Sneezing and coughing,
• Itching of the nose, eyes and roof of the mouth,
• Runny, stuffy nose,
• Watery, red or swollen eyes.
Tests and Diagnosis
To evaluate whether you have an allergy, your doctor may:
• Ask detailed questions about signs and symptoms
• Do a physical exam
• Conduct allergy tests (skin test and/or blood test).
Seasonal Allergy Treatment
Allergy treatments include:
• Avoiding allergen – identifying and avoiding allergy triggers is the most important step in preventing allergic reactions and reducing symptoms.
• Taking medications to reduce symptoms – depending on your allergy, allergy medications (oral medications, nasal sprays or eye drops) can help reduce your immune system reaction and ease symptoms.
• Immunotherapy (allergy shots) – is one of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies linked to pollen. This treatment involves a series of injections of purified allergen extracts, usually given over a period of few years. Over time, these injections expose you to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.
• Another form of immunotherapy is a tablet that is placed under the tongue (sublingual) until it dissolves. Sublingual drugs are used to treat some pollen allergies.
Sinus congestion and hay fever symptoms often improve with nasal rinsing with salt and water solution. You can use a neti pot or a squeeze bottle to flush out thickened mucus and irritants from your nose.
Try to avoid triggers. If you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed during periods when pollen is high. Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors. Wear a mask when working outdoors, and take appropriate medication beforehand.