Ear, Nose & Throat

Allergy Season Is Here – Get Informed

written by Becki Andrus

Do you have a love-hate relationship with the spring season? On the contrary, it’s a great time of year because the weather is perfect – you want to enjoy outdoor activities and open the windows.

But many people are miserable because the seasonal changes increase pollen counts, which triggers seasonal allergy symptoms.

If you are experiencing an increase in postnasal drip and congestion, it might be time to talk to an ENT about treatments for seasonal allergies. A proactive approach is essential to help you get ahead of the symptoms and improve your comfort throughout the day.

Interesting Facts about Seasonal Allergies

As with any other type of health condition, it can be helpful to learn more about your symptoms and possible treatments. Empower yourself with education about seasonal allergies, which will help you identify the specific steps you can take to feel more comfortable.

Here are a few interesting facts that you need to know if you are suffering from seasonal allergies:

#1: Allergies Are an Immune Response

You are experiencing allergy symptoms because of an immune response that is happening in the body. These symptoms flare up during certain times of the year because microscopic pollen particles are being released into the air by trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds.

When your immune system detects the pollen, histamine is released into the bloodstream to fight against foreign invaders. This histamine response is what causes you to experience allergy symptoms.

#2: Allergy Symptoms Vary

Each patient has unique allergy symptoms, which can change during the allergy season. The most common symptoms include:

  • Postnasal drip
  • Runny nose
  • Clear discharge from the nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose
  • Scratchy, itchy throat
  • Slight cough
  • Sneezing
  • Itching eyes
  • Watering, red eyes

#3: Distinguishing Between Allergies and a Head Cold

How do you know if you have allergy symptoms or are getting sick with a head cold? First, pay attention to the frequency, severity, and symptoms.

For example, if the symptoms only last for 7 – 10 days, you probably have a virus. However, seasonal allergy symptoms will continue as long as you are exposed to the allergy triggers.

Also, pay attention to the type of congestion you are experiencing. If nasal discharge is green or yellow in color, it is a sign of an infection or illness. Seasonal allergies usually cause the nose to be runny with clear discharge.

#4: Don’t Open the Windows

Even though it might feel nice to open the windows and bring in fresh air during the spring season, it’s best to keep the windows closed if you suffer from seasonal allergies. The breeze brings in pollen and allergen triggers that can collect in your home.

Instead, use the HVAC system to manage indoor climate and make sure you have a quality HEPA filter in place. Also, consider investing in an air filter that you can keep in your bedroom or the living areas of your home.

#5: Prioritize Spring Cleaning

Be proactive in minimizing pollen in your home by maintaining a regular cleaning schedule. You are coming out of the winter “hibernation,” which means there might be home projects that sat on the backburner through the colder months.

Now is the time to remove pollen and dust that has collected through the winter. Start at the top and work your way down. Dust the countertops, windows, and more. Wash the bedding and other fabrics in the house where pollen can collect.

Finish your deep cleaning with a HEPA-filtered vacuum and professional carpet cleaning services to pull up any allergens that have settled in the carpet fibers.

#6: Explore Treatment Options

Many different treatments are available to help with allergy management. While this health condition is considered chronic (it can’t be cured), there are many ways you can manage the symptoms and improve your lifestyle.

Talk to an ENT about the possibilities of using medications, nasal sprays, or allergy shots (immunotherapy). Your doctor can help you identify the optimal treatment based on your allergy triggers and the specific symptoms you are experiencing.

#7: Allergies Can Affect All Ages

If you are suffering from seasonal allergies, then pay attention to symptoms in your children as well. It’s common for allergies to run in families, which means your children have a higher risk of an allergy diagnosis.

Seasonal allergies can develop at any time, at any age. While most children are affected by the age of 10 years old, some people don’t experience seasonal allergies until adulthood.

If your child has any allergy symptoms, consider talking to a pediatric ENT for diagnosis and treatment. Congestion and runny nose can lead to other health complications, such as sinus infections or ear infections. So, proactively treating allergies can be an effective way to avoid further health concerns.

#8: Seasonal Allergies Usually Change Throughout the Year

There is a reason this condition is known as “seasonal” allergies. These allergy responses are seasonal in nature, with the symptoms flaring when pollen-producing plants are most active.

Usually, seasonal allergies are most severe in the springtime months. Then, the symptoms start to subside when the growing season ends.

But certain plants and weeds flower during the summer or fall. So, depending on your specific allergy triggers, you might notice that the symptoms worsen during certain times of the year.

#9: Other Names for Seasonal Allergies

The term “seasonal allergies” is widely used, but you might also hear other phrases used for this type of condition. “Hay fever” is another popular phrase. Hay fever is a term that dates back to the 1800s, likely because of allergy symptoms that flared when stacking hay (causing workers to inhale dust).

Some people use the phrase “pollen allergy” since the symptoms happen because of pollen exposure. “Allergic rhinitis” or “seasonal allergic rhinitis” are the medical terms for this health condition.

Talk to an ENT about Seasonal Allergies

Are you noticing the trend that your allergy symptoms tend to flare around the same season each year? Then you are probably one of the millions of people in the United States suffering from seasonal allergies.

The good news is that you can choose from many treatment options to get these symptoms under control. Reach out to an ENT in the Collin County or Dallas area to schedule an appointment for diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.

Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat specializes in seasonal allergies and other types of upper respiratory conditions. We have offices in Frisco or Plano, TX, for your convenience. Use our online form to schedule an appointment, or call: (972) 596-4005.

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