While most of us may look forward to spring or fall, allergy sufferers tend to dread the arrival of these seasons. Hay fever, which is a popular term for seasonal allergies, is misleading because allergies seldom cause a fever and are not related to hay.
Allergy symptoms appear when a person’s body comes into contact with the pollen they are sensitive to.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
This condition is caused by an overactive immune system that responds to the allergen – usually the pollens. In the eastern, southern, and Midwestern United States, spring pollens usually come from trees (oak, elm, maple, alder, birch, juniper, and olive).
When exposed to these triggers, the body attempts to protect itself by causing immune cells to produce chemicals, such as histamine. These chemicals can produce sudden allergic symptoms as well as symptoms that may last for days or weeks. Other respiratory illnesses and disorders, like an upper respiratory Infection or the flu, may have similar symptoms.
In the early summer, pollens come from grasses (bluegrasses, timothy, redtop, and orchard grass). In the late summer, pollens come from ragweed. Seasonal allergy is also caused by mold spores, which can be airborne for long periods of time during the spring, summer, and fall. Allergic conjunctivitis (a condition of the eye) may result when airborne substances, such as pollens, contact the eyes directly. The pollen count is measured by several organizations and can be easily found online for free.
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