Seasonal allergies are allergic reactions to triggers that are typically present for only part of the year such as spring of fall. The most common seasonal allergy is hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is caused by pollens, smalll grains released from flowering plants, and airborne chemicals or dust particles. When these substances land in a person's eyes, nose or on the skin, the symptoms develop.
Hay fever is usually at its worst during 'haying season' which occurs from late May to the end of June in the Northern Hemisphere although seasonal allergies can occur at any time of the year.
Common springtime allergens generally come from tree pollens. These include:
- and elm.
During the summer, pollens from grasses are at their highest levels. Grasses are commonly divided into two branches - northern and southern. Northern grasses, which are more common in colder climates, are timothy, rye, orchard, sweet vernal, red top and blue grass. Southern grasses thrive in warmer climates. Bermuda grass is a common example of a southern grass.
Fall allergies tend to stick to the weed category although some trees do polinate in that season in certain parts of the world. Weeds that cause the most allergies tend to be:
- tumbleweed (Russian thistle)
- and cocklebur.
Mold is often very high during the fall as well and can range into the winter months when indoor allergies tend to take center stage. (Pollen.com is a great resource for US residents to use to learn what pollens are high in their local area on a given day.)
Symptoms of seasonal allergies include, but are not limited to:
- itching mouth, eyes, throat, skin, etc.
- runny nose
- occasional nosebleed
- impaired sensitivity to smell
- stuffy nose
- sore throat
- and irritability.
The best treatment is to reduce your contact with the things you are most allergic to. Preventative measures such as remaining indoors during the morning and evening hours, when the allergens are at their peak, are usually encouraged.
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