Seasonal allergy sufferers can expect sneezing, runny noses and eye irritations as well as other symptoms and triggers. The most common allergy triggers during the summer months are grass pollens, says allergist James Sublett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). In addition, says Sublett, summer brings ragweed, which usually arrives in August, and mold spores, which can irritate those with allergies.
Here are some summer allergy triggers and how to cope with them.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Oral allergy syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in pollen and some raw fruits and vegetables. So if you suffer from hay fever and have an itchy mouth or scratchy throat after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables you may have this.
Oral allergy syndrome symptoms can also include swelling of the lips, mouth or tongue. Treatment is not typically necessary because the symptoms usually subside quickly once the fruit or vegetables are swallowed or removed from the mouth. Cooking the fruit also makes the symptoms go away as well.
If you suffer the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction from an insect sting you are advised to inject epinephrine and then call 911 for hospital emergency room treatment and observation.
The majority of insect stings in the United States come from wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees. In southern portions of the U.S., the red or black imported fire ant has become a significant health hazard, and may be the number one agent of insect stings. Its estimated that potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to insect venom occur in .4 percent to .8 percent of children and 3 percent of adults.
To avoid getting stung, do not walk barefoot in the grass where stinging insects are. Keep food covered when eating outdoors and do not drink from open soft drink cans because they also attract stinging insects. Also, when working outdoors always wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, shoes and work gloves.
Many people like to exercise outdoors in the summer but this is harder for those with seasonal allergies. You should exercise outdoors when pollen counts are at their lowest pre-dawn or in the late afternoon or evening. And keep and eye on the weather because wind and rain can affect the pollen counts. Also, avoid running in the grass, which can stir pollen into the air you breathe.
Its possible to bring pollen indoors because pollen can stick to your hair, shoes and clothes. So after exercising, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes.
If you are having trouble breathing or have other symptoms that are keeping you from enjoying the outdoors you can visit a board-certified allergist for proper testing to identify and treat your allergic symptoms.