Pollen, mold, pets, or dust mites? If your eyes are watering and your nose is stopped up, you may be more interested in what will get rid of your symptoms than what’s causing them. Knowing that, though, can help you get lasting relief.
If your allergies act up at certain times of the year, you may be allergic to pollen. In the spring, pollinating trees are usually to blame for allergies. In summer, grasses and weeds mainly make pollen. In fall, it’s weeds, especially ragweed.
If your symptoms tend to last all year, you may be allergic to dust mites, pet dander, or mold. Outdoors, mold usually peaks in late summer and early fall. But it can be around all year.
You can be allergic to more than one thing, and you can have seasonal and year-round allergies. In fact, it’s common for people who have allergies to be allergic to more than one trigger.
Symptoms to Watch For
With allergies, your body sees the thing you’re allergic to as an “invader.” It releases chemicals like histamine to fight the foreign substance.
Histamine is what causes your sinuses, nose, and mucus membranes to swell. You get congested, and your nose and eyes may itch and be watery. You may sneeze a lot.
How Do I Find Out What Causes My Allergies?
Usually your doctor can diagnose allergies based on your symptoms and triggers. If your symptoms are more severe or medication doesn’t help, an allergist may do a skin test to find out what is triggering your allergies.
She’ll put tiny bits of potential allergens on your arm or back, and then scratch the surface of your skin. Any places that get red and itchy mean you have an allergy to that specific trigger.
Rarely, your doctor may also do a blood test to check for allergies.
Who Gets Outdoor Allergies/Hay Fever?
About 10% to 30% of the people in the U.S. have outdoor allergies. Doctors don’t know for sure why some people have allergies and others don’t. But if your parents have allergies, you’re more likely to have them, too. If you have asthma or eczema, you’re more likely to get hay fever or year-round allergies.
How to Treat Allergies
The best treatment is to avoid the thing you’re allergic to. If it’s pollen, use an air conditioner to keep it out of your house. For dust mites, put dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows. If you’re allergic to pets, keep your furry friend out of the bedroom.
Wear wraparound sunglasses when you go out to protect your eyes from pollen. Use cool compresses on your eyes. These are just a few things you can do to treat allergies.
You can also try these medications:
• Antihistamines: Antihistamines are often the first medicines used to treat nasal allergies. They are available as pills, liquids, and in eye drops. You can buy many antihistamines over the counter, and others your doctor can prescribe.
• Decongestants: Over-the-counter decongestants — either pills, drops, or sprays — help unblock nasal passages so you can breathe better. Don’t use nasal sprays for more than three days, or they can make congestion worse.
• Cromolyn (Nasalcrom): This nasal spray can prevent allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching, and stuffiness.
• Steroid nasal sprays: If symptoms last and are more severe, prescription nasal sprays are one of the best treatments for allergy symptoms if used regularly.
• Saline nose sprays: These can clean out allergens caught in your nose.
• Eye drops: Eye drops can relieve itching and watering.
Will Allergy Shots Help?
Allergy shots or immunotherapy gradually help your body get used to your allergy triggers. They are usually recommended for people who have symptoms more than three months each year. They can help lower your need for medication to control your symptoms.
Do you suffer ear, nose and throat problems.
Dr. Troost is a ENT specialist in medical and surgical management of ear, nose and throat problems. He also focuses on problems with snoring and sleep apnea