Allergies are a very common problem that affects millions of Americans each year. Allergic rhinitis (commonly called hay fever) is an allergic reaction to certain things in the environment such as grasses, trees, molds, and dust. Hay fever symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. The most common indoor allergens are dust mites and pet dander. The most common outdoor allergens are pollen and mold spores produced by trees, grasses, and fungi growing outdoors.
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is the most common allergy
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is the most common allergy in the United States. You may have heard of it referred to by other names: pollen allergies and summer allergies are common terms for hay fever as well. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to outdoor allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust mite feces (and their droppings).
Allergic reactions tend to occur during certain seasons when there’s more exposure to these allergens. For some people with seasonal allergies—or those who live in areas with consistently high levels of pollen—their symptoms may be more severe during specific times of year (for example: April–June for grass pollen) than at other times. The severity of symptoms can also vary from year-to-year depending on how much pollen is in the air at any given time.
If you experience hay fever every once in a while but don’t suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies all year long then you might have what’s called an intermittent allergic response which means that sometimes your body will respond strongly while others times it won’t react much at all.
Hay fever usually appears early in life, at least by age 20
Hay fever is a common allergy that usually begins in childhood or adolescence. In rare cases, hay fever may also develop later in life, after age 20.
Although hay fever is most often thought of as a childhood condition, it can occur at any age. And although many people view allergies as something that only affects children, adults and seniors are also at risk for developing these types of reactions to pollen and other allergens.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to outdoor allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander
Hay fever is the most common allergy. For those with hay fever, their immune system produces antibodies that are called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies react to things like pollen and dust mites, causing inflammation in the nose.
Hay fever is seasonal (meaning it comes and goes depending on the season). You are more likely to get it if you live in an area where there are a lot of trees or grasses growing because that’s where allergen-producing plants grow too!
Allergic rhinitis can occur seasonally (hay fever) or occur throughout the year (perennial allergies)
When your body reacts to an allergen, your immune system releases chemicals that produce symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Allergic rhinitis can occur seasonally or year-round (perennial allergies). Seasonal allergic rhinitis is more common than perennial allergy and is most prevalent during spring and fall when pollens are in the air.
Perennial allergies are caused by airborne allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores that you breathe in every day. If you have allergies for most of the year or every season of the year, it’s likely you have perennial allergies — which can be treated with medications called antihistamines that block your body from reacting to allergens it comes into contact with on a daily basis
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
The most common indoor allergens are dust mites and pet dander
The most common indoor allergens are dust mites and pet dander. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in bedding, carpets, and upholstery. Pet dander is the dried skin flakes of cats and dogs. These allergens can make your eyes itch or water, your nose runny, cause you to sneeze, have a sore throat, and trigger asthma attacks.
Allergic rhinitis may be similar to the common cold at first glance, but there are subtle differences between these two conditions.
For example, you may be suffering from allergic rhinitis if:
- Your symptoms are worse in the morning or at night when you’re lying down.
- You feel congestion in your nose and throat, or even in your chest.
- You have a runny nose that’s not due to allergies or other things such as sinus infection (sinusitis).
If you think it might be the common cold instead of allergic rhinitis, here are some signs to look out for:
- Symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, a sore throat, and cough that tend to appear suddenly at any time of day without having been preceded by other symptoms.
- If you have a medical condition you need to attend to a medical professional / hospital immediately.
Allergic rhinitis is a common problem across all age groups
Allergic rhinitis is a common problem across all age groups ‘ children, adults, and seniors. However, most people with allergies are younger than 4 years old. In fact, more than half of children with allergies have their first symptoms before they reach 5 years of age.
As we get older our immune systems weaken and so it becomes easier to become allergic to things such as pollen or dust mites. It’s not uncommon for older people to develop an allergy to perfume or other scents that they didn’t have problems with when they were younger.
Blood tests for allergy
- Indoor and outdoor allergies can be identified with a quick blood draw called IgE panel testing. This simple test gives you a strong indication of what you’re allergic to.
- This test measures the number of antibodies in your blood that are specifically directed against certain foods like eggs, wheat, and peanuts. Testing for food allergies can help determine whether there is an immediate reaction after consumption (such as hives), delayed reactions (such as asthma), or no reactions at all.
Allergies are a very common problem
Allergies are a very common problem that affects millions of Americans each year. Allergies occur when an immune system reaction occurs to something that is normally harmless and the body responds with symptoms such as rash, runny nose, congestion, or sneezing. Allergic reactions are not a disease but rather an exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance (allergen) encountered for the first time.
We hope this article has helped you understand what allergies are and how they differ from the common cold.
Allergic reactions can be treated in several ways including avoidance of allergens and medication such as antihistamines and adrenaline and corticosteroids.