What does fall allergies feel like
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.
Your Seasonal Allergies Symptoms May Include Itchy Skin This Spring
Spring is here, and you may be ready for the warmer weather, time exterior, and chance to let the unused air back into your homes.
But, every year 67 million individuals suffer from seasonal allergies, so for some, the spring season is dreaded thanks to the increase of pollen, dust, and mold that cause these allergies. Even if you expect or plan for seasonal allergies, they can often leave you feeling miserable with their adverse impact on your sinuses and skin.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergies impact individuals differently depending on climate, location, and their individual reactions. For some, the symptoms are severe enough to require medication, and for others, they are more manageable.
Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy sinuses
- Runny noses
- Watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy Skin
Unknown Signs of Allergies
Just love symptoms can vary among individuals, there are numerous signs of allergies that you may not be aware of, including:
- Lack of endurance
- Respiratory infections
- Being overly tired
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Lack of sleep
Since these signs are lesser known than the symptoms listed above, numerous individuals go without a diagnosis of their seasonal allergies for years.
Spring Allergies and Your Skin
To properly manage spring allergies, you should see an allergist that can assist you identify what types of allergies you suffer from and create a plan of action moving forward.
While most individuals experience sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and red noses, a common symptom of allergies is itchy skin. If you suffer from itchy skin or dry red patches, you may need more than lotion to cure it.
Causes of Itchy Skin
Starting in tardy winter/early spring, trees and plants start to bud creating invisible airborne allergens love mold and pollen.
For some individuals, these allergens create an increased quantity of histamine in their blood flow which causes inflammation, making the skin sensitive. If the skin is highly reactive, it can trigger allergy-related itchiness and even eczema.
How to Prevent Itchy Skin
While you can’t eliminate pollen, ragweed, or other causes of allergies, there are some steps you can take to assist manage your itchy skin. Minimize stress when possible, studies show high amounts of stress can increase histamine and create more adverse allergy reactions. A change in your skin care routine may be necessary to calm the inflammation and reduce itchiness.
It is also significant to eat correct and drink plenty of water, so your body has the necessary nutrients it needs to effectively manage allergies.
Plus, some foods own high amounts of histamine in them that can trigger or increase the severity of the seasonal allergies. If you spend time outdoors, consider changing your clothes once you return inside. Wash your hair every night to remove the pollen and allergens before going to sleep to prevent them from transitioning to your bed linens and pillow.
Sometimes spring allergies can be managed on your own and other times contacting an expert is necessary. If you are suffering from itchy skin that may be eczema, contact Windsor Dermatology today at 609-443-4500.
You own an allergy when your body overreacts to things that don’t cause problems for most people.
These things are called allergens. If you own allergies, your body releases chemicals when you are exposed to an allergen. One type of chemical that your body releases is called histamine. Histamine is your body’s defense against the allergen. The release of histamine causes your symptoms.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen comes from flowering trees, grass, and weeds. If you are allergic to pollen, you will notice your symptoms are worse on boiling, dry days when wind carries the pollen. On rainy days, pollen often is washed to the ground, which means you are less likely to breathe it.
- Allergies that happen in the summer (late May to mid-July) are often due to grass and weed pollen.
- Allergies that happen in the spring (late April and May) are often due to tree pollen.
- Allergies that happen in the drop (late August to the first frost) are often due to ragweed.
Allergens that can cause perennial allergic rhinitis include:
- Animal dander.Proteins found in the skin, saliva, and urine of furry pets such as cats and dogs are allergens.
You can be exposed to dander when handling an animal or from home dust that contains dander.
- Mold. Mold is common where water tends to collect, such as shower curtains and damp basements. It can also be found in rotting logs, hay, and mulch.
This allergy is generally worse during humid and rainy weather.
- Dust. Numerous allergens, including dust mites, are in dust. Dust mites are tiny living creatures found in bedding, mattresses, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. They live on dead skin cells and other things found in home dust.
Try stress reduction to improve your quality of life and potentially relieve allergy symptoms.
Spring allergies are a stressful trade. Coping with watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or a sore throat affects how you get through each day.
«The primary consequence is a reduced quality of life. This naturally can lead to stress on patients and their families,» says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
The influence goes both ways: not only can allergies cause stress, but stress can make allergies worse.
Understanding the allergic reaction
The gooey mess of allergies is the result of an overactive immune system — one that reacts against harmless foreign substances, love tree or plant pollen, as if they were a dangerous threat. The substances that provoke allergies are called allergens.
If you own allergies, when you breathe in tiny pollen particles or other allergens, immune system cells in the nose release chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms and recruit more immune system cells to fight.
The bigger the battle that your immune system wages, the worse you’ll feel.
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.
Why is stress so physical?
The stress response is the body’s way of keeping us safe. When the brain senses harm, it alerts the adrenal glands to release stress hormones. That causes your heart to pound, blood pressure to rise, and blood vessels to constrict to send more blood to your brain and muscles. Stress makes your breath quicken to get oxygen to your muscles, and sends fat and sugar into the bloodstream to boost your energy.
The stress response is helpful in the short term; it enables you to get through a hard situation.
But if you trigger the stress response repeatedly, then over time it can contribute to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, heartburn, and numerous other health problems—including worse allergies.
Stress and allergies
Feeling stressed for any reason can also affect allergies. One effect is psychological.
Stress amplifies our emotional reaction to any symptoms we are having. Dr. Sedaghat says stress can intensify how bothered you are by your allergy symptoms. «When people are under stress, they can feel as if nothing is going well, including their health,» explains Dr. Sedaghat.
The other effect of stress on allergies is physical. «Stress can make the allergic response worse,» says Dr. Sedaghat. «We don’t know why exactly, but we ponder stress hormones can ramp up the already exaggerated immune system response to allergens.» In other words, if you’re feeling stressed for any reason, you may discover yourself dealing with worse allergy symptoms than usual.
Okay, so when does allergy season 2020 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.
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, Pollen.com 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 2019, 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 to do about allergies
Allergy treatment typically involves using an over-the-counter corticosteroid nasal spray, such as mometasone furoate (Nasonex) or fluticasone propionate (Flonase).
The sprays assist shut off the flow of inflammatory chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms.
Symptoms should start to improve with a week of daily use, but it may take three weeks before the sprays show full benefit.
Another common type of allergy medication is an antihistamine. It counteracts the effects of histamine, a body chemical involved in allergic reactions. But some antihistamines — such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) — can cause drowsiness and increase the risk of falls. Dr. Sedaghat says the safest antihistamine options for older adults are prescription antihistamine sprays, such as azelastine (Astelin) and olopatadine (Patanase).
These may assist prevent symptoms while minimizing drowsiness.
To prevent watery eyes, Dr. Sedaghat recommends antihistamine eyedrops, such as ketotifen (Zaditor), available over the counter, and olopatadine (Patanol), available by prescription.