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Fall Allergy Season Is Here

Allergies can be a mere nuisance, or they can cause scary and even debilitating symptoms. Now that fall allergy season is here, it's great to know ways to prevent allergies from arising, and when to see a primary care physician for allergies.

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies are caused due to your immune system reacting negatively to a foreign substance. Because your body views allergens as a foreign invader, it triggers an immune response that causes the classic signs and symptoms of traditional allergies.

An allergic reaction can cause symptoms such as:

  • Redness or swelling, such as when you place cream or sunscreen you're allergic to on your skin
  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swollen lips, eyes, tongue, or face
  • Trouble breathing or wheezing

Common allergies include allergies to food, medication, substances such as certain detergents, and of course, seasonal allergies.

What's the Difference Between Regular and Seasonal Allergies?

Season allergies differ from other allergies in that the allergen your body is reacting to comes from air-born substances instead of ingested substances.

Some common allergens during the fall include:

  • Pollen from ragweed that can travel through the air
  • Mold from damp conditions either in your home or workplace
  • Dust mites trapped within heating vents and air-conditioners

Seasonal allergies can cause the same symptoms as traditional allergies, including anaphylactic shock if severe enough. However, more common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Runny nose
  • Water Eyes
  • Dry Eyes
  • Itchy Nose or eyes
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches due to blocked sinuses

How do I know if I Have Seasonal Allergies?

If you find yourself developing symptoms of allergies during certain seasons, or when exposed to pollen, dust, or mold, you might have seasonal allergies. 

An allergy test might also be administered by your primary care physician if they suspect your allergies are coming from air-borne substances. This test involves placing an allergen on a patch of your skin, usually on your forearm.

What Are Some Treatment Options?

Treatment options for seasonal allergies differ from regular allergies. Because you can't avoid air-borne substances like you can other allergens, treatment options are based on symptom reduction. These can include:

  • Antihistamines that help block the effects of histamine your body releases in response to an allergen
  • Steroids to help reduce inflammation in your sinus cavities and nose
  • Decongestants to get rid of excess mucus
  • Immunotherapy such as allergy shots

When Should I See a Doctor?

You can always use over-the-counter medication to help treat fall allergies. However, if over-the-counter medications aren't working, or if you aren't able to use these medications, speak to a doctor about treatment options.

Fall allergies can be simple to treat but do require medical help if they are severe and interfering with your quality of life.

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