As people spend more of their summer outdoors enjoying fun activities such as hiking, swimming, and gardening, it can also bring some of the worst seasonal allergies. Heat, humidity, dust mites, and pollen from grass or weeds are prime summer allergy culprits.
Seasonal allergy symptoms are often confused with other symptoms, as they are very similar to that of a common cold. According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, MD, founder and Medical Director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “Both conditions share similar symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, facial pain, sinus pain, post-nasal drip, and fatigue. However, itching is usually only associated with allergies, while fever and body aches are more closely attributed to an upper respiratory infection (from a cold or flu). And while colds can heal in 3-5 days, allergies can last longer and recur.
When summer allergens like pollen and dust enter the body, histamine is generated, which triggers allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis, which in turn, causes runny nose and itchy eyes.”
Sneezing spells can also occur as the allergens make their way into the respiratory system and nasal passages, and the body reacts by sneezing as a method of release. Pollen levels can vary by year, and when copious amounts of pollen are in the air, it can trigger allergic reactions in people that previously never suffered.
Seasonal allergies can come with a multitude of symptoms that occur simultaneously. Sneezing can be accompanied by sinus pain, or nasal, ear, and chest congestion. When these symptoms work in unison with each other, headaches can occur around the front of the face with worsening sinus pain as you breathe through your nose.
Coping with severe seasonal allergies can sometimes lead to emotional distress. According to Dr. O’Connor, “Emotional distress is underrated, because treating severe allergies can be complex, and not as simple as taking an oral antihistamine to get relief. Allergies can interfere with work productivity, and prevent you from performing simple, everyday activities, which lead to frustration, anxiety, and in some cases, depression.”
Dr. O’Connor recommends an integrative approach to long-term care and management of seasonal allergies:
- Avoid outdoor activities during high-pollen count periods early in the morning (between 5am – 10am) and at dusk (after 5pm). Monitor local weather reports and pollen counts in your area.
- After being outdoors for long periods, shower immediately (avoid sleeping with pollen in your hair). Wear gloves and wipe pollen from pets.
- Aside from over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays, consider natural supplements like Quercetin or Bromelain to treat inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
- Use saline irrigation to clear pollen from nasal passages, or as a natural lavage to clear up secretions from inflammatory cells.
- Stay hydrated and well-rested, eat healthy, and follow an anti-inflammatory diet to boost your immune system.
- Consider immunotherapy treatments – there are shots and tablets that are now FDA-approved
Allergic rhinitis symptoms can sometimes be painful, so if you are seeking sinus pain relief, you may want to opt for alternative treatment methods using gentle microcurrent technology.
Such alternative treatments for allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® – advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation) for reducing sinus pain.
In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, and other alternatives. If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis.