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An Introduction To Seasonal Allergies

Spring and fall. To most people these are wonderful times of year. Spring brings with it a new beginning following the winter months. Trees regain their foliage, flowers and blossoms bloom and in fall the leaves change color making for an entertaining display of color in preparation for the winter to come. However, for allergy sufferers, it's a time of dread and fear. Spring and Fall are the two major times of year for seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies are categorized by certain airborne substances, which only appear during certain times of year, most often during the spring and fall months, though summer allergies are common as well.

More commonly known as hay fever, these allergies do not always coincide with summer when hay is normally harvested and rarely includes fever, so the term "hay fever" can be a little misleading.

Hay fever normally causes itchiness of the top of the mouth, the nose, back of the throat, or the eyes. This itchiness can come about very quickly. Symptoms also include a runny nose, as well as a stuffed up nose and sneezing. It often causes watery eyes, at times quite heavily watery as well as possible redness of the eyes and eyelids. The nasal lining in the nose can become inflamed and swollen. It can also cause headaches, irritability, as well as wheeziness. Many who experience these types of allergies also suffer from asthma..

Treatment normally depends on the type of allergy and the severity, but normally these type of allergies can be controlled through use of over the counter antihistamines and decongestants. Cromolyn, a non-prescription nasal spray may also be recommended. Cromolyn has to be used regularly to be effective and may only be effective in those areas to which it is applied. Bathing of the eyes with a regular eye wash may also help to alleviate any irritation of the eyes.

There are many known seasonal allergy triggers based on which region of the United States you may reside in. Those in other countries may use the following as a guideline, though allergy triggers may vary from country to country.

In the spring, hay fever is known to be triggered in the southern, eastern and mid-eastern US by trees like juniper, birch, oak, alder, maple, elm and olive. In summer, grasses, such as, redtop, timothy, bluegrasses and orchard grass, are major culprits and in late summer, ragweed usually becomes a prevalent allergy trigger.

In the fall, Russian thistle and sagebrush are known to cause big problems for hay fever sufferers in the western US. Between December and March, cedar (also known as juniper) is a major producer of pollen. Grass in the South-western US has a longer pollination period, which makes for a longer allergy season for those in the southwest region.

If you believe you may be suffering from any form of hay fever, you can try any of the countless over the counter allergy medications on the market. For most cases, these medications will do the trick. If not, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. Doing so could make the difference between a happy season and a miserable one.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Allergies