Surviving Allergy Season

Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing fits. If these symptoms mark the start of the season for you, here are some simple, helpful steps

By Emily Gurnon, Contributing Writer

More than 23 million American adults and children suffer each year from seasonal rhinitis, or hay fever. For some, it is an annoyance. For others, it can feel like a plague that interferes with your ability to work and enjoy everyday activities. It can contribute to sinus infections, asthma and trouble sleeping.

But there are steps you can take to help keep hay fever symptoms at bay.

What causes seasonal allergic rhinitis?
Hay fever is triggered by tiny pollen particles that travel through the air at certain times of the year. The pollen fertilizes plants and tree flowers. It also lands in our mouths, noses and eyes. In people who are sensitive to it, the pollen causes the immune system to release histamine which in turn sets off the unpleasant symptoms. Despite its name, hay fever has nothing to do with hay, and it doesn’t cause a fever.

Symptoms
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

Tips for avoiding allergies
Pollen is so widespread that it’s hard to avoid. Short of locking yourself in an airtight room, you cannot completely escape the airborne particles. But you may want to try the following:

See your doctor if:

How your doctor can help
If you can’t avoid allergens, talk to your doctor. Other treatments include: