What to take for severe seasonal allergies

See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.

A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.

If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.

If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.

Find out more about allergy testing


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.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

But some allergens–pollens, specifically—are seasonal.

Jewelyn Butron

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.


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.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

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.


Common allergies

Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.

The more common allergens include:

  1. food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
  2. insect bites and stings
  3. latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
  4. medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
  5. mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
  6. dust mites
  7. grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  8. animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
  9. household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes

Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.


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.”

The downside? 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.

Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis

  1. Nasal surgery: Surgery is not a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but it may assist if patients own nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis that is not responsive to antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays.
  2. A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is pricked with a little pricking device.If a kid reacts to the allergen, the skin will swell a little in that area.
  3. Antibiotics: Effective for the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect the course of uncomplicated common colds (a viral infection) and are of no benefit for noninfectious rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis.
  4. A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin.

    This test stings a little but isn’t extremely painful. After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears (like a mosquito bite) at the injection site, the test is positive.

en españolAlergia estacional (fiebre del heno)

About Seasonal Allergies

«Achoo!» It’s your son’s third sneezing fit of the morning, and as you hand him another tissue you wonder if these cold-like symptoms — the sneezing, congestion, and runny nose — own something to do with the recent weather change.

If he gets similar symptoms at the same time every year, you’re likely right: seasonal allergies are at work.

Seasonal allergies, sometimes called «hay fever» or seasonal allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that happen during certain times of the year, generally when outdoor molds release their spores, and trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.

The immune systems of people who are allergic to mold spores or pollen treat these particles (called allergens) as invaders and release chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream to defend against them.

It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergy symptoms.

People can be allergic to one or more types of pollen or mold. The type someone is allergic to determines when symptoms happen. For example, in the mid-Atlantic states, tree pollination is February through May, grass pollen runs from May through June, and weed pollen is from August through October — so kids with these allergies are likely to own increased symptoms at those times. Mold spores tend to peak midsummer through the drop, depending on location.

Even kids who own never had seasonal allergies in years past can develop them.

Seasonal allergies can start at almost any age, though they generally develop by the time someone is 10 years ancient and reach their peak in the early twenties, with symptoms often disappearing later in adulthood.

Diagnosis

Seasonal allergies are fairly simple to identify because the pattern of symptoms returns from year to year following exposure to an allergen.

Talk with your doctor if you ponder your kid might own allergies. The doctor will enquire about symptoms and when they appear and, based on the answers and a physical exam, should be capable to make a diagnosis.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

If not, the doctor may refer you to an allergist for blood tests or allergy skin tests.

To discover an allergy’s cause, allergists generally do skin tests in one of two ways:

  • Never take anyone else’s medication.
  • clear, runny nose
  • Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  • Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
  • Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom.

    Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least degrees Fahrenheit).

  • While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
  • Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  • Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  • Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home.

    Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.

  • Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  • Itchy skin, hives and eczema
  • To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
  • If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
  • coughing
  • Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached.

    Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections.

    What to take for severe seasonal allergies

    Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.

  • Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily.

    Treatment can continue for as endless as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.

  • Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.
  • Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  • itchy nose and/or throat
  • Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  • A drop of a purified liquid form of the allergen is dropped onto the skin and the area is pricked with a little pricking device.If a kid reacts to the allergen, the skin will swell a little in that area.
  • Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy.

    Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.

  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
  • A little quantity of allergen is injected just under the skin. This test stings a little but isn’t extremely painful. After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears (like a mosquito bite) at the injection site, the test is positive.
  • Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  • Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  • Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.
  • nasal congestion
  • sneezing
  • Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  • Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
  • Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  • Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling.

    Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.

Even if a skin test or a blood test shows an allergy, a kid must also own symptoms to be definitively diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a kid who has a positive test for grass pollen and sneezes a lot while playing in the grass would be considered allergic to grass pollen.

Medications

Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them.

If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in numerous forms — oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops. Some medications may own side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can assist you live the life you want.

Decongestants

Decongestants assist relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue.

They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects. They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not unusual for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed. At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants. Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using. Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and final for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist.

Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue. Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure that swelling, provided that there is no underlying disorder.

Oral decongestants are found in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, and may be the treatment of choice for nasal congestion. They don’t cause rhinitis medicamentosa but need to be avoided by some patients with high blood pressure.

If you own high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your allergist before using them.

Nasal sprays

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will assist counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus. Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed. Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage. There are numerous OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.

Nasal cromolyn blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances.

It does not work in every patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can assist prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.

Nasal ipratropium bromide spray can assist reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t reply well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who own allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies.

Immunotherapy can be extremely effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t assist the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.

Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.

  1. Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached.

    Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections. Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.

  2. Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily.

    Treatment can continue for as endless as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis. These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes put. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms. Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.

Antihistamines assist to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:

  1. Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  2. Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  3. Itchy skin, hives and eczema

There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription.

Patients reply to them in a wide variety of ways.

Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects. Some people discover that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time. If you discover that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a diverse type or strength of antihistamine.

If you own excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines. Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.

Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours. The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications. Proper use of these drugs is just as significant as their selection.

The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop. A dose taken early can eliminate the need for numerous later doses to reduce established symptoms. Numerous times a patient will tell that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might own been effective.

Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury. Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy.

For this reason, it is significant that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine. Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.

A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes. Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations.

Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines. Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.

Important precautions:

  1. Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  2. Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
  3. Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy. Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.
  4. Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  5. While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
  6. Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  7. Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  8. Never take anyone else’s medication.

Leukatriene pathway inhibitors

Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

These drugs are also used to treat asthma.

Intranasal corticosteroids

Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis. They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.

Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may happen from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection. Take care not to spray the medication against the middle portion of the nose (the nasal septum). The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding.

Some older preparations own been shown to own some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.

Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops

Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching. OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms.

They may not relieve every symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may actually cause your condition to worsen.

Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms, and can be used to manage them.

Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.

Signs and Symptoms

If your kid develops a «cold» at the same time every year, seasonal allergies might be to blame. Allergy symptoms, which generally come on suddenly and final as endless as a person is exposed to the allergen, can include:

  1. itchy nose and/or throat
  2. nasal congestion
  3. clear, runny nose
  4. sneezing
  5. coughing

These symptoms often come with itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, which is called allergic conjunctivitis.

Kids who own wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to these symptoms might own allergies that triggerasthma.

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.”

The downside? 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.

Avoidance

The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.

Outdoor exposure

  1. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
  2. Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
  3. Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  4. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  5. Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  6. Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

Indoor exposure

  1. Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom.

    Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least degrees Fahrenheit).

  2. To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
  3. Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home.

    Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.

  4. Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets

  1. Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  2. If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
  3. Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.

Treatment

There are numerous ways to treat seasonal allergies, depending on how severe the symptoms are.

The most significant part of treatment is knowing what allergens are at work. Some kids can get relief by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens that annoy them.

If certain seasons cause symptoms, hold the windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen/mold/weed counts are high.It’s also a excellent thought for kids with seasonal allergies to wash their hands or shower and change clothing after playing outside.

If reducing exposure isn’t possible or is ineffective, medicines can assist ease allergy symptoms. These may include decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal spray steroids. If symptoms can’t be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your kid to an allergist or immunologist for evaluation for allergy shots (immunotherapy), which can assist desensitize kids to specific allergens.

An allergy is a reaction the body has to a specific food or substance.

Allergies are extremely common.

They’re thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives.

They’re particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a kid gets older, although many are lifelong.

Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.

Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control.

Severe reactions can occasionally happen, but these are uncommon.

Even if a skin test or a blood test shows an allergy, a kid must also own symptoms to be definitively diagnosed with an allergy.

For example, a kid who has a positive test for grass pollen and sneezes a lot while playing in the grass would be considered allergic to grass pollen.

Medications

Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them. If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in numerous forms — oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops. Some medications may own side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can assist you live the life you want.

Decongestants

Decongestants assist relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue.

They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects. They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not unusual for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening. If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed. At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants.

Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using. Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and final for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist. Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure that swelling, provided that there is no underlying disorder.

Oral decongestants are found in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, and may be the treatment of choice for nasal congestion. They don’t cause rhinitis medicamentosa but need to be avoided by some patients with high blood pressure. If you own high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your allergist before using them.

Nasal sprays

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will assist counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus.

Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed. Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage. There are numerous OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.

Nasal cromolyn blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances. It does not work in every patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can assist prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.

Nasal ipratropium bromide spray can assist reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t reply well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who own allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies.

Immunotherapy can be extremely effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t assist the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.

Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.

  1. Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached.

    Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections. Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.

  2. Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily.

    Treatment can continue for as endless as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis. These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes put. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms.

Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.

Antihistamines assist to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:

  1. Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  2. Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  3. Itchy skin, hives and eczema

There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. Patients reply to them in a wide variety of ways.

Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects.

Some people discover that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time.

What to take for severe seasonal allergies

If you discover that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a diverse type or strength of antihistamine. If you own excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines. Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.

Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours.

The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications. Proper use of these drugs is just as significant as their selection. The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop. A dose taken early can eliminate the need for numerous later doses to reduce established symptoms.

Numerous times a patient will tell that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might own been effective.

Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury. Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy. For this reason, it is significant that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine.

Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.

A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes. Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations. Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines.

Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.

Important precautions:

  1. Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  2. Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
  3. Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy. Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.
  4. Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  5. While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
  6. Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  7. Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  8. Never take anyone else’s medication.

Leukatriene pathway inhibitors

Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

These drugs are also used to treat asthma.

Intranasal corticosteroids

Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis. They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.

Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may happen from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection. Take care not to spray the medication against the middle portion of the nose (the nasal septum).

The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding. Some older preparations own been shown to own some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.

Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops

Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching. OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms.

They may not relieve every symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may actually cause your condition to worsen.

Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms, and can be used to manage them.

Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.

Signs and Symptoms

If your kid develops a «cold» at the same time every year, seasonal allergies might be to blame.

Allergy symptoms, which generally come on suddenly and final as endless as a person is exposed to the allergen, can include:

  1. itchy nose and/or throat
  2. nasal congestion
  3. clear, runny nose
  4. sneezing
  5. coughing

These symptoms often come with itchy, watery, and/or red eyes, which is called allergic conjunctivitis. Kids who own wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to these symptoms might own allergies that triggerasthma.

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.”

The downside?

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.

Avoidance

The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.

Outdoor exposure

  1. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
  2. Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
  3. Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  4. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  5. Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  6. Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

Indoor exposure

  1. Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom.

    Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least degrees Fahrenheit).

  2. To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
  3. Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home. Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.
  4. Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets

  1. Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  2. If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible.

    If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.

  3. Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.

Treatment

There are numerous ways to treat seasonal allergies, depending on how severe the symptoms are. The most significant part of treatment is knowing what allergens are at work. Some kids can get relief by reducing or eliminating exposure to allergens that annoy them.

If certain seasons cause symptoms, hold the windows closed, use air conditioning if possible, and stay indoors when pollen/mold/weed counts are high.It’s also a excellent thought for kids with seasonal allergies to wash their hands or shower and change clothing after playing outside.

If reducing exposure isn’t possible or is ineffective, medicines can assist ease allergy symptoms.

These may include decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal spray steroids. If symptoms can’t be managed with medicines, the doctor may recommend taking your kid to an allergist or immunologist for evaluation for allergy shots (immunotherapy), which can assist desensitize kids to specific allergens.

An allergy is a reaction the body has to a specific food or substance.

Allergies are extremely common. They’re thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives.

They’re particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a kid gets older, although many are lifelong.

Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.

Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control.

Severe reactions can occasionally happen, but these are uncommon.


Symptoms of an allergic reaction

Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.

They can cause:

  1. a red, itchy rash
  2. sneezing
  3. wheezing and coughing
  4. a runny or blocked nose
  5. red, itchy, watery eyes
  6. worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms

Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.

This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.


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