Hay fever, the common term for seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis), can make certain times of the year miserable. While so many people look forward to the flowers blooming in spring, millions of others who have seasonal allergies dread the runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes that come along with it.
For the more than 26 million adults and children dealing with seasonal allergies, the elevated pollen levels in spring and summer cause the immune system to overreact and bring on symptoms that can significantly disrupt your daily life.
If you have seasonal allergies, it’s important to work with an allergist to manage your symptoms so you can get back to your life.
Here in Redondo Beach, California, allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Ulrike Ziegner cares for patients with a broad range of allergic conditions at Riviera Allergy Medical Center. Seasonal allergies are extremely common and treatable.
Finding the right combination of treatment requires the help of an experienced allergy professional, and most people who have allergies can minimize their symptoms and the impact they have on their life with the right treatment plan.
Why do I have seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies develop when the immune system identifies normally harmless airborne substances as dangerous. A combination of genetic and environmental factors appear to increase the likelihood of seasonal allergies.
If you have a close relative with allergies, you’re much more likely to develop them yourself. Additionally, people with seasonal allergies tend to have other allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema.
Getting relief from seasonal allergies
Allergy patients who visit Dr. Ziegner at Riviera Allergy Medical Center receive individualized treatment plans to manage their allergies. Reducing exposure to seasonal allergens, along with medications that block substances involved in the allergic response, are key to easing hay fever symptoms.
While it’s impossible to completely avoid pollen, you can take steps to reduce your exposure in the spring and summer.
Limit exposure during peak pollen levels
Pollen levels rise in the early morning and again in the early evening. It’s a good idea to check the weather report for the daily pollen count. You can reduce your exposure by staying inside during peak times and days.
While you’re indoors, it’s important to keep the windows closed so pollen stays out. When you do go out, it’s helpful to change your clothes when you return home. Pollen attaches itself to clothing, so put your clothes in the hamper when you return home.
Medications that block histamine are a mainstay in treating seasonal allergies. It’s best to start antihistamine treatment 2-3 weeks before the season begins. Treating allergies early, before pollen levels rise, is more effective at controlling symptoms than waiting for spring season to start.
Histamine is a substance your body releases as part of an inflammatory immune response. Blocking this substance eases symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and congestion.
Steroid nasal sprays
Nasal sprays for seasonal allergies contain corticosteroids that reduce inflammation and ease nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. These medications are used alone or in combination with antihistamines to manage seasonal allergies.
They’re commonly taken once or twice a day by administering one to two sprays in each nostril. This controls symptoms for 12-24 hours depending on the nasal spray.
In cases where antihistamines and nasal sprays fail to manage symptoms, biologic medication may help. These medications work differently depending on the specific biologic Dr. Ziegner recommends for you.
For example, Dupixent® blocks a protein involved in immune reactions called interleukin. All biologics work by targeting parts of the immune system that contribute to inflammation and allergic reactions.
If you’re struggling with seasonal allergy symptoms, we can help. Dr. Ziegner can perform a simple skin test to confirm that you have seasonal allergies and create a treatment to make sure you’re ready for spring.
Call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to book an appointment with Dr. Ziegner. You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.