Spring allergies have been particularly brutal this season. The reason? "We’ve had an unusually cold April, followed by a sudden hot spell that caused trees, grass and weeds to bloom and release bursts of pollen all together," Dr. Gregory Levitin, from the NY Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai, told CBS. And, believe it or not, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) isn’t over for those who suffer from summer allergies.
Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network, told Metro that summer allergies typically cause similar symptoms as springtime allergies, including "itchy, watery eyes, stuffy nose, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and skin rashes" — but it’s a different pollen that’s responsible for summer hay fever.
Considering pollen is one of the most common causes of allergies in the U.S., we suggest taking some notes. And, if you aren't sure whether or not you're affected by summer allergies, Dr. Parikh said it’s "best to be tested by a board certified allergist so you know what seasons are bad for you."
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What are some common summer allergies?
Dr. Parikh named grass pollen as the main culprit of summer hay fever as opposed to the powdery, sneeze-inducing yellow stuff dispersed from trees during the spring.
Also, certain weed pollen common in the fall can pose a threat.
"Sometimes we can see the fall pollen [that comes from] ragweed as early as August," Dr. Parikh said. "Dust mite allergies can also worsen as humidity is generally higher in summer."
Besides pollen, other summer allergies include bees, seasonal fruits as well as mold spores, which can cause similar symptoms as hay fever, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Treatments for summer allergies
Summer allergies are treated the same way as spring allergies, said Dr. Parikh.
"Steroid nasal sprays, antihistamine nasal sprays, antihistamine eye drops and antihistamine pills are first line," she explained. "However, if you are having breathing symptoms, you may need an inhaler."
"The ultimate treatment to lessen and cure how allergic you are is [to densensitize your body] through allergy shots and sublingual drops and tablets," Dr. Parikh advised. These, though, need to be started a few months in advance.
Don’t let allergies keep you down when summer beckons you outdoors — with the right treatment plan, hay fever can be nothing but a nuisance you can easily tame.