The pollen allergy season is coming closer. Unfortunately, it is not something that we can avoid, and so, we are left to struggle with the annoying symptoms of pollen allergy. In today’s article, we will discuss more the difficult pollen allergies that are awaiting us.
What causes pollen allergies?
As the term suggests, pollen allergies are triggered by pollen – a harmless, fine powder produced by trees, flowers, grass, and weeds. Approximately 10-30% of the global population is affected by a pollen allergy.
An individual with a pollen allergy experiences an allergic reaction to the pollen that he/she breathes in. The immune system of these individuals mistakenly identifies pollen for an intruder as it begins producing chemicals in order to fight it. This leads to the common symptoms characteristic of a pollen allergy.
The symptoms of a pollen allergy
The list of common pollen allergy symptoms includes:
- Runny nose;
- Stuffy nose;
- Red and watery eyes;
- Itchy nose, eyes, ears, throat, and mouth;
- Swelling around the eyes;
- Decreased sense of smell and/or taste;
- Coughing, etc.
How is a pollen allergy diagnosed?
After a physical exam has been performed, and you have been asked about your medical history, the doctor will proceed to perform the skin pick test. This test will help your doctor determine the exact allergen that causes your symptoms. A drop of the possible allergen is applied to the skin, which is then pricked or scratched in order to provoke a reaction. If any redness, swelling, or itching develops within 20 minutes, the test is considered to be positive.
A specific IgE blood test is usually performed as well, usually within individuals where a skin pick test cannot be done for whatever reason. It involves a simple blood test to be performed. Later, at the laboratory, allergens are added to the blood sample, which helps determine if an allergic reaction will appear and to which allergen.
Treatment of pollen allergies
Unfortunately, there is no cure for an existing pollen allergy. However, your doctor can recommend some over-the-counter medications to help you relieve the symptoms. Usually, antihistamines are being used to relieve any sneezing, runny nose, itching, and any nasal congestion that may be present. Decongestants can also help as well as nasal corticosteroids.
There are also a few things that the patient can do to protect himself. Starting to use any allergy medication before the pollen season has begun is said to help, as well as limiting the exposure to the outdoors once the season starts. Consult your doctor about more of these alternative methods that can be used to help you during the pollen season.
With many of struggling with a difficult pollen allergy, and some of us being unaware of what is causing that constant sneezing and runny nose during a pollen season, it is good to get informed about the basics of this allergy. Although it cannot be cured, it is still worth giving the common symptoms relief methods a try during the next pollen season to give yourself a little peace of mind.