Seasonal allergies develop when the body’s immune system deems a foreign substance in the environment harmful and creates antibodies against it. Symptoms typically peak during the seasons when certain plants pollinate. However, the greater Austin area is the perfect landscape for a multitude of different plants that all pollinate at different times of the year, causing an almost constant barrage of allergic symptoms.
Seasonal allergies – also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever– tend to present with a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. They are caused by exposure to various elements during the specific seasons when they are most likely to trigger an immune response in a person’s body. Commonly, this includes pollen from grasses, weeds, and some types of trees. Fortunately, for people who suffer from these types of allergies, specific treatments can help them cope with the effects of their unpleasant symptoms.
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
The symptoms of seasonal allergies can vary from mild to severe and may persist for weeks or months. Seasonal allergies can also result in complications by triggering asthma symptoms and increasing an individual’s risk for developing sinus or ear infections. It is not always easy to tell whether your symptoms are due to seasonal allergies or any other condition. Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:
- Runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip (mucus running down the back of the throat), and/or sneezing
- Itchy, watery, red, and/or swollen eyes
- Pain in the face and/or headaches
- Ear fullness, pain, and/or popping
- (for those who may have asthma) wheezing and/or shortness of breath
Causes of Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies are triggered by three types of pollen: grass pollen, tree pollen, and weed pollen. Windy and dry conditions can carry these allergens over long distances. Seasonal Allergic reactions occur even if there aren't many trees or grasses in your yard or neighborhood. Central Texas has been referred to as the “Allergy Capital of the World,” and not for no reason. Here in central Texas, each season is accompanied by its own multitude of pollinating plants, causing many Texas residents months of annoying allergy symptoms. Although in many other locations in the country allergies seem to disappear as winter rolls around, Texas is home to forests full of cedar trees. In fact, cedar allergies are so common here that the term ‘cedar fever’ was coined to describe the cold-like symptoms that cedar pollen triggers during the winter months. In the spring, oak trees, cottonwood, elm, ash, and pecan trees are major culprits that contribute to allergic symptoms. Grass pollen typically spikes in the summer. Grasses that commonly trigger allergic symptoms in the central Texas area include Bahia, Bermuda, and Timothy. During the fall, weed pollen begins to pick up, causing many people to experience allergic symptoms. The main culprit is Ragweed, which can sometimes cause more severe allergic symptoms due to the mass amounts of pollen these free-growing plants produce at once.
Seasonally Related Triggers
While the term “seasonal allergies” generally refers to grass, pollen and mold, there is a different group of triggers that are closely tied to particular seasons. Among them:
- Smoke (campfires in summer, fireplaces in winter)
- Insect bites and stings (usually in spring and summer)
- Chlorine in indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Candy ingredients (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter)
- Pine trees and wreaths (Thanksgiving to Christmas)
Diagnosis and Treatment of Seasonal Allergies
Here at Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, we believe that everyone deserves to live free from the annoying allergy symptoms all year round. Our allergy specialist has vast knowledge and experience diagnosing and treating your allergies, and start the process by identifying them. During your visit, your allergist will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, then perform a physical examination. This information will help determine testing methods, such as allergy skin or allergy blood testing, to identify the source of your seasonal allergies.
Seasonal Allergy Testing
The most common way to test for seasonal allergies is through skin testing. There are different types of skin testing and Read more about different types of skin testing and evaluation process here on this page: https://www.frontierallergist.com/testing-treatments/skin-testing/
Seasonal Allergy Treatment
Once you receive your diagnosis, your allergist will work with you to devise a treatment plan unique to you that involves allergy symptom prevention and management. Your allergist will likely recommend lifestyle changes to avoid triggers, allergy medications to control allergy flares, and more long-term allergy treatments that will help reduce the instance and severity of your symptoms. These treatments will likely include immunotherapy options such as sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drop therapy) or subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shot therapy). Patients who undergo either treatment route will have a personalized solution made that can either be taken in drop form under the tongue (allergy drops) or injected beneath the skin (allergy shots). If you decide to undergo allergy shot therapy, your doctor will provide you with the option of undergoing cluster or traditional immunotherapy. Allergy immunotherapy is a great way to decrease your immune system’s response to allergens and reduce symptoms for years.
Next stepsIf you are interested in further discussion about your specific needs, Dr. Reshamwala is happy to see you and answer any questions you may have. Please call 512-382-1933 or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment
Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21