What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies
The allergy is caused by pollen, often from wind-pollinated plants. Pollen consists of individual pollen grains that contain the male gamete. Insect-pollinated plants produce less pollen than wind-pollinated plants, which need to release a lot of pollen in order to ensure pollination. This lightweight dust can travel hundreds of kilometres. The windier it is, the more widely the pollen is spread, and the higher the concentration.
Rain drives pollen towards the ground, which then causes fewer symptoms (although storms can make symptoms worse). In some people, it takes only a few pollen grains to trigger a severe allergic reaction. For example, six rye pollen grains per cubic metre of air are enough to provoke an allergic reaction in people who are sensitised. (For comparison, a single ear of rye produces several million pollen grains.)
The main allergy triggering pollens come from trees, grasses and weeds.
- Trees: The pollen of early flowering species such as birch, hazel, alder and ash are particularly allergenic.
Birch pollen allergy is especially common.
- Grasses: The Poaceae, commonly called ‘grasses’, are mainly responsible for triggering grass pollen allergies.
- Weeds: Mugwort and ragweed are highly allergenic.
Pollen contains water-soluble proteins that are released when they come into contact with the mucosa. In allergic individuals, the immune system generates IgE antibodies in reaction to the proteins, which are actually harmless.
These antibodies bind to the body’s defence cells, known as mast cells, which then release anti-inflammatory substances such as histamine.
Histamine and other messenger substances stimulate the glands to release secretions and irritate the nerves, causing itching, sneezing and vasodilation that leads to redness and swelling of the mucous membranes.
What does that mean for my allergy meds? When should I start taking them?
There’s no point in waiting until you’re miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you desire to hold up your outdoor workouts.
In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you start having symptoms, says Dr. Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if you’re seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr.
Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, glance for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds. Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they don’t cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
Around 12 million people in Germany suffer from hay fever ( per cent). Scientists at the Robert Koch Institute own arrived at this estimate through an analysis of 8, physician interviews.
Hay fever typically appears before age 25, generally in children between eight and 16 years of age. These days, more and more people over 50 are developing pollen allergies for the first time.
Okay, so when does allergy season start?
Well, it’s technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergens–pollens, specifically—are seasonal.
Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring (generally in tardy March to April), grass pollen arrives in the tardy spring (around May), weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer (July to August), and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to drop (late August to the first frost), says Dr. Parikh.
And even worse news: Climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
To get super-specific, has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in diverse areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day.
Certain areas own also seen a particularly large increase in pollen during allergy season.
In , the New York Times reported on the extreme blankets of pollen that hit North Carolina; Georgia and Chicago also faced especially aggressive allergy seasons too. In Alaska, temperatures are rising so quickly (as in numerous other far northern countries), that the pollen count and season duration are seeing unprecedented growth.
So Boiling in Here
Reports of pollen allergies first appeared around the time of the industrial revolution. Whether that means that these allergies were the product of pollution, new diets, or changes in hygiene isn’t clear.
What is clear, writes Charles W. Schmidt in this month’s issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, is the role of climate change in contemporary pollen allergies.
“When exposed to warmer temperatures and higher levels of CO2, plants grow more vigorously and produce more pollen than they otherwise would,” writes Schmidt.
Warming temperatures in some areas, love the northern United States, extend the periods during which plants release pollen.
The combined effect of warming temperatures and more CO2 means that the quantity of pollen in the air has been increasing and will continue to increase as climate change worsens. (According to a study presented by Bielory, pollen counts could double by )
This is bad news not just for people who own allergies, but also for people who don’t.
“In general, the longer you’re exposed to an allergen, the more likely you are going to be sensitized to that allergen,” Bielory says. People who own pollen allergies may experience intensified symptoms, and people who don’t normally own pollen allergies may start to.
Already, Schmidt writes, there “is evidence suggesting that hay fever prevalence is rising in numerous parts of the world.”
Does Honey Help?
With the increase in the number of pollen allergy-sufferers, it’s understandable that people own begun to seek natural ways to alleviate their symptoms.
Some own even argued that consuming honey will build up your resistance because it contains pollen.
But as Rachel E. Gross points at out Slate, that theory’s just honey bunches of lies; mainly because the pollen that makes you sneeze doesn’t come from flowers.
In the spring, the pollen that gives humans allergies comes from trees. In the summer, people own allergic reactions to grass pollen; and at the finish finish of summer and beginning of drop, people start to suffer from pollinating weeds—especially ragweed, which has spread from the United States to Europe and the Middle East.
Really, the “natural” ways to deal with pollen allergies are to stay clean, hold your windows closed, and go exterior when pollen counts are lower, such as after it rains.
If your symptoms are bad enough, take over-the-counter medication or see an allergist. And if you don’t mind the risk of malnutrition or life-threatening diseases, there’s always hookworms.
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With allergies that impact the airway, a chronic train reaction can be triggered. Allergies are a well-known trigger for asthma. When the mucous membranes are inflamed over a longer period of time, an allergy can also predispose one to bronchitis. Chronic lung disease may lead to Cor pulmonale, or correct ventricular enlargement and failure, caused by lung disease.
Many assess shortness of breath and inflamed bronchi as harmless seasonal ailments, possibly due to a freezing.
However, it should be sure if an allergy is the cause and if therapeutic measures can be taken to prevent unnecessary burden on the heart and the immune system. In addition to pollen, other allergies can also affect the cardiovascular system. The combination of physical stress and a weakened immune system leads to a weakening of the heart muscle and can develop into a heart muscle inflammation.
Those affected should avoid contact with allergens, the substances that trigger allergies.
To strengthen the heart, it is significant to exercise frequently.
Mild endurance sports should be performed in order to expand the bronchi and to improve the body’s oxygen supply, therefore strengthening the function of the heart. We own created a list of heart tips to assist improve your quality of life during allergy season.
Over the years, researchers own observed that the pollen season has shifted forward by several days and continues on a bit longer in the autumn. If the climate is mild, the final grass or weed pollens can still be airborne in November, while the first hazel pollens appear as early as December. In this context, it would not make sense to refer to early summer hay fever (which it was originally called because it was assumed to be linked to hay and grass).
The effects of pollen allergy are underestimated.
Sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes are not the only symptoms that patients suffer from. During pollen season, numerous people cannot work to their full capacity; they sleep poorly and are exhausted. After several years, some allergy sufferers also develop what is known as the allergic march (moving from the upper respiratory tract to the lower). When this happens, hypersensitive reactions start to happen in the bronchia, resulting in bronchial asthma.
What can I do if my allergy meds aren’t workingor my allergies are getting worse?
If you’re already taking OTC allergy meds (and, you know, keeping your windows closed and washing your face and hair after coming inside), allergy shots, a.k.a.
allergen immunotherapy, make your immune system less reactive to allergens (read: pollen), and for some people, they can even induce a cure, says Dr. Parikh.
“By giving little increasing doses of what you are allergic to, you train the immune system to slowly stop being as allergic,” she says. “This is the best way to address allergies, as it targets the underlying problem and builds your immunity to a specific allergen.”
Allergy shots are a bit of a time commitment. You’ll need to get them once a week for six to eight months, then once a month for a minimum of two years, says Dr. Parikh.
You need to be a little bit patient, too, because it can take about six months to start feeling better (so if you desire protection by March, you’ll probably own to start in September the year before). But a life without allergies? Sounds worth it to me.
Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance author and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on every things health, fitness, and travel.
Kristin CanningKristin Canning is the health editor at Women’s Health, where she assigns, edits and reports stories on emerging health research and technology, women’s health conditions, psychology, mental health, wellness entrepreneurs, and the intersection of health and culture for both print and digital.
When one tree loves another tree extremely much, it releases pollen to fertilize the ovules of that tree, plus whatever other trees happen to be around (you know how it goes).
But when the pollen begins to blow, you’re probably not marveling at the miracle of tree reproduction—you’re dreading the allergies that accompany it.
The reason that pollen makes some people sniffle and sneeze is because their immune systems attack it love a parasite, says Leonard Bielory, professor and allergy specialist at Rutgers University Middle of Environmental Prediction.
That’s because certain people’s immune systems recognize the protein sequence in pollen as similar to the protein sequence in parasites.
When this happens, their bodies attempt to expel the “parasite” through sneezing and other symptoms. This attack on the pollen, Bielory says, “is the reaction we call allergy.”
The fact that some people’s bodies react this way is actually helpful of weird, since pollen “is rather innocuous,” he says. Our immune system “really should not be reacting to it, because pollen is nothing more than the male reproductive component of plants.”