Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
Relief from Seasonal Allergies
It hardly seems fair. Just as the days start getting longer and warmer and people have finally stopped spreading their flu and cold germs to others, the misery begins all over again. Welcome to allergy season!
Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, is triggered by pollen and affects more than 25 million people in the U.S. each year. Seasonal pollen allergies typically begin in late March, when the trees start blooming and the grass starts turning green and usually ends when the first frost develops. Pollen season is getting worse as temperature extremes occur more often throughout the country, which lengthens the duration of the season and increases the amount of pollen in the air.
Common Causes of Hay Fever
- Tree Pollen (April-June)
- Grass Pollen (May-June)
- Ragweed Pollen (August-September)
Even if you know that pollen is causing your seasonal suffering, other allergens may be affecting you, as well. In fact, the majority of those who suffer from allergies in the spring actually have year-round symptoms. That’s why it’s important to see board-certified allergists, like those at Oak Brook Allergists, who can help narrow down precisely what’s bothering you.
Hay Fever Symptoms
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis may vary from person to person and can include:
- Nose: stuffy, runny, sneezing
- Eyes: itchy, watery
- Head: sinus pressure, headaches, "brain fog"
- Ears: pain, fullness, itchiness
Some people with allergies may also have underlying asthma, which can cause coughing, wheezing, and a tightness in the chest.
Manage and Treat Your Hay Fever
The allergy specialists at Oak Brook Allergists can help you find the source of your suffering – and put an end to your symptoms.
The first step is accurately identifying what is causing your allergic reaction, beginning with a physical exam, medical and health history assessment, and allergy testing.
Your personalized hay fever treatment plan may include medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays to reduce upper airway inflammation as well as allergy shots for patients with difficult-to-control symptoms.
Tips to help you prevent a reaction during pollen season include environmental control measures such as:
- Monitoring pollen counts
- Restricting your outdoor activities
- Keeping home, work, and car windows closed
- Taking the medication your doctor recommends before anticipated pollen exposure
- Wearing a mask with an air filter when outside for any length of time
- Taking a shower, washing your hair, and changing your clothes after working or playing outside
Consider perennial allergens. Allergies unrelated to pollen – such as to mold, dust mites, pet dander, and cockroach droppings – can result in a symptom flare-up at any time of year and are considered perennial allergens. These allergies may exacerbate your hay fever symptoms and can require slightly different treatments. The key to the most effective treatment for you is to discover what exactly you are allergic to and address it.
Are you plagued with seasonal allergies? Hay fever – or allergies to pollen from trees, weeds, and grass – is common, but very treatable. Find out what your best treatment plan is by contacting the allergic rhinitis specialists at Oak Brook Allergists in northeast Illinois. Call (630) 574-0460 today or request your appointment now.