Effective ways to deal with seasonal allergy

As the weather changes, it is common to experience allergy symptoms like coughs, sneezing, and leaky nose, to name a few. These could be hard to live with. However, with a few precautionary measures, you can curb the effect of these seasonal allergies.

Health Shots got in touch with Dr Vijay Arora, Senior Director of Internal Medicine, Max Hospital, Patparganj, New Delhi, to understand the causes of seasonal allergies and various easy-to-follow remedies.

What is the cause of allergy?

Dr Arora explains, “An allergy that gets triggered in a particular season is more commonly known as hay fever. It occurs when your immune system overreacts to an outdoor allergen such as pollen which is one of the most common allergens from wind-pollinated plants such as grass and weeds. The pollen from the insect-pollinated plants are too heavy to remain airborne for long, and they are less likely to cause or trigger an allergic reaction.”

Seasonal allergies may be less common during winter. But it is possible to experience allergic reactions the whole year as different plants emit pollen at different times of the year depending on your allergic triggers. Also, depending on the place you live in, you may experience hay fever in more than one season, and you may also react to indoor allergens such as pet dander and mold.

winter allergy
The winter season may trigger your allergy more often. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Common symptoms of allergy

As per Dr Arora, the symptoms of seasonal allergies range from mild to severe, including sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery or itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, ear canal, ear congestion, post-nasal drip, headache, whizzing and shortness of breath.

Many people with hay fever also have asthma. If you have both hay fever and asthma, your seasonal allergies may trigger an asthma attack every season.

Hay fever happens when your immune system identifies an airborne substance that is usually harmless as dangerous. It responds to that substance or allergens the releasing system and other chemicals into the blood those chemicals produce the symptoms of allergic reactions. The common triggers of hay fever vary from season to season.

Ways to deal with common allergy symptoms

Indoor allergies are often easier to remove from the environment than outdoor pollutants. There are some home tips to get rid of common allergens.

* Get rid of carpets and upholstery furniture, and remove stuffed toys from your child’s room.
* Wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week, and cover your bedding and pillows with allergen-proof covers.
* Fix water leaks and damage that support bacteria and pests to flourish.
* Clean surfaces like humidifiers, coolers, refrigerators, and ACS.
* Use a dehumidifier to reduce excess pollutants.

mark for allergy
Use a mask to guard yourself from pollution and allergens. Image courtesy: Zamurovic Brothers from Noun Project via Creative Commons

Steps to avoid seasonal allergy or hay fever

* Use air conditioners with heap filters rather than ceiling fans.
* Check your local network for pollen forecast, and try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high (especially when hay fever is active).
* Limit your time outdoors, keep your windows shut, and consider wearing a dusk mask when you are outside on a windy day.
* Also, avoid smoking because it can aggravate hay fever symptoms.

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