Hay fever or Seasonal Allergic Rhinoconjunctivits is triggered by outdoor airborne pollens. Different pollens reach high levels during different times of the year. In the northeast United States, the following is an estimate of when different pollen levels are elevated:
|Time of year
||Specific pollen that is elevated
|Late March - June 1st
|May 1st - July 1st
|Mid August - first frost
||Ragweed and other weed pollens
Animals with dander can lead to allergy symptoms of the nose, eyes, respiratory tract and skin. Cat and Dog allergy are two of the most common allergies, but individuals can be allergic to any animal with dander including horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters gerbils and birds. Individuals with an animal dander allergy who have a pet at home typically complain of symptoms year round, but their symptoms are usually worse in the winter when one spends more time indoors. Minimizing exposure to an allergic trigger is obviously the ideal treatment option. If removing the pet is not an option, then placement of an air purifier in the home and not allowing the pet in the bedroom could help lessen symptoms. If a patient remains symptomatic, then treatment with medications and/or allergy shots becomes a treatment option.
Dust Mite and Mold Allergies
Dust mites are a common cause of nasal congestion and can be a trigger for asthma. Dust mites thrive in higher humidity. They also require human skin flakes to survive. The symptoms due to dust mites become more noticeable when a person is indoors. Mold can be a cause of both seasonal and year round allergies, depending on which mold spore a patient is allergic to. There are both indoor and outdoor molds.
Seasonal and indoor allergies can present with a variety of symptoms. Examples include: itchy nose, nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, red and/or puffy eyes, watery eyes, asthmatic symptoms, and eczema. Knowing when one is experiencing symptoms will help determine which allergens are leading to one’s symptoms.
Hay fever and indoor allergies are diagnosed based on your symptoms, your physical examination, and allergy testing. Allergy testing may be done via skin prick testing, intradermal testing or laboratory (Immunocap) testing. Skin prick and Intradermal testing is performed in the office to the most common indoor and outdoor allergens. You must be off all antihistamines and H2 Blockers (stomach acid reducers) for at least 3 days prior to any skin testing. If we are unable to perform skin prick testing, then laboratory (Immunocap) testing will be ordered.
Wash your face and clothing when coming in from outside during the pollen season.
Keep the windows and doors closed when you are inside during the pollen season.
Use an air purifier when you are indoors.
Use dust mite encasements on your mattress, pillows, and box springs.
Wash your bedding in hot water (>120 Fahrenheit) at least once per week.
Vacuum your carpet once a week, preferably with a HEPA filter vacuum, or removed carpets.
Keep humidity low.
Removal of the pet from your home, or if this is not possible, keep the pet out of your bedroom.
Use an air purifier in your bedroom.
Medications for treatment of allergies are aimed at controlling symptoms. Oral antihistamines or topical treatments (such as intranasal corticosteroids or allergy eye drops) may be used to reduce your symptoms. Different medications may work best depending on your symptoms and allergic triggers; therefore it is best to consult with one of the doctors at Weiss Medical to determine the medication regimen that will work best for you.
Allergen immunotherapy, or “allergy shots” are a treatment option for patients with hay fever or indoor allergies. Allergen immunotherapy is typically considered for a patient who might one or more of the below criteria:
Moderate to severe symptoms that are not well controlled with medications and environmental controls.
Patients who experience side effects from medications.
Patients who wish to decrease the amount of medications needed to control their symptoms.
Patients with asthma or eczema that is triggered by seasonal or indoor allergies.
Allergen Immunothrapy can be discussed with one of the doctors at Weiss Medical in order to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for allergen immunotherapy.