What causes seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies are caused by specific allergens such as ragweed, grass or tree pollen. When these allergens come in contact with your body, they are considered foreign particles. The allergens bind themselves to mast cells that are loaded with histamine. In response, your immune system starts to release large quantities of histamine and other chemicals from these mast cells to combat the allergens. It is the histamine action that produces the symptoms of sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, red, itchy, and watery eyes. Seasonal allergic reactions can begin at any age. Areas that have poor air quality can result in more intense symptoms.
How do you prevent seasonal allergies?
Unfortunately, seasonal allergy symptoms can be difficult to completely eradicate. The first step in the management of this condition involves avoiding the specific allergen you are allergic to. This can be difficult especially if you are active outdoors in the summer. There are simple ways to get some relief, such as keeping the windows of your home and car closed and turning the air conditioner on, remembering that pollen release is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon, and making sure the filters in your furnace are clean.
How do you treat seasonal allergies?
Remedies to relieve ocular symptoms of seasonal allergies can involve oral over-the-counter anti-histamine medications taken during your particular allergy season. For those who suffer from severe seasonal allergies, allergy shots may be the treatment of choice. This is usually preceded by tests performed by an allergist to determine exactly what substances you are allergic to.
You can achieve additional comfort by placing a clean face cloth soaked in ice-cold water over closed eyes. Over-the-counter artificial teardrops and antihistamine eye drops can also help reduce red, itchy, and watery eyes. Prescription medications that combine an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer work best by providing immediate and long-term relief.
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, the ocular symptoms can be very uncomfortable. Despite all the different remedies out there to deal with seasonal allergies, there is no cure. It is not recommended to diagnose and treat your symptoms yourself. Consult your Doctor of Optometry to recommend the best therapy to provide relief from seasonal allergies.