Summer is a time for enjoying the great outdoors, but for many people, this pleasure is reduced by allergies. Sneezing, sniffling and red, itchy eyes can be an ever-present irritation during the summer months. While there are many types of summer allergy, most can be easily and quickly treated to allow you to enjoy summer to its fullest.
Common Summer Allergies
Pollen is the most common cause of summer allergies. Pollen is a fine powder-like substance produced by trees and plants for reproductive purposes. In late spring and summer, plants release vast quantities of pollen into the air. For pollen allergy sufferers, breathing in the pollen will trigger the body's immune system to produce a substance called histamine. Histamine is responsible for the allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes and sneezing. Many types of plants can be responsible for pollen allergies in summer, including weeds such as ragweed and pigweed and grasses such as bermuda and red top.
Insect Bites and Stings
Insects such as wasps and bees are more active over the summer months. Some people can suffer allergic reactions to the bites or stings of such insects. The severity of such reactions can range from mild itching and swelling to severe reactions that require immediate medical attention. The symptoms of severe allergic reactions will usually be a swelling of the tongue and throat, dizziness and even shock.
Dust mites are tiny organisms that live in warm, humid environments such as carpets and beds. Dust mite populations peak during the summer. Dust mites and dust mite residue can cause allergic reactions in some people. These allergic reactions usually take the form of sneezing, wheezing and hives. For eczema sufferers, an allergic reaction to dust mites can cause the disease to flare up.
Thankfully, most summer allergies can be dealt with easily using over-the-counter medications. Anti-histamines, nasal sprays and eye drops can be purchased from most pharmacies and should be sufficient for treating most pollen and dust mite allergies. If these remedies prove ineffective, it is recommended that you visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to recommend a prescription medication, such as a corticosteroidal nasal spray, or may suggest a treatment such as immunotherapy.
Reactions to insect bites and stings can usually be treated by icing the affected area and applying a topical cream to reduce pain and swelling. In the case of a severe allergic reaction, you should dial 911 immediately. If you are at risk of a severe reaction, you should ensure that you carry an epinephrine shot with you at all times. This shot should be used immediately after a reaction. For more information, contact Hinsdale Asthma & Allergy Center or a similar location.