Now that it’s August, summer is in full swing. For a lot of people in Huntsville and Madison, that means summer allergies are also in full swing. Don’t let them ruin these last few weeks of the season; there are steps you can take to find relief and get in the last of your swimming and barbecuing before the leaves begin to change colors.
What Causes Summer Allergies?
Most people associate allergies with springtime, but 24 million Americans know firsthand that they can – and do – occur during the summer months, too.
Allergies are an immune system respone to a perceived threat – a defense mechanism to protect the body. When a substance believed to cause harm (an allergen trigger) is detected, the immune system produces chemicals called histamines that are sent into the bloodstream. These antibodies are the cause for your tell-tale allergy symptoms, which may include the following:
- Stuffy and/or runny nose
- Itchiness in the nose and throat
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Pressure in the ears
- Allergic shiners (bluish skin beneath the eyes)
Many grasses, trees and weeds bloom during the summer months in Alabama. They release pollen into the air, resulting in hay fever and the above symptoms.
Treating Summer Allergies
Ideally, you’d be able to avoid the allergen triggers responsible for your symptoms, but unless you want to lock yourself inside the house for months on end, that’s not a practical solution. Instead, your ENT doctor in Huntsville recommends home remedies to help relieve symptoms and reduce your discomfort.
Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants and nasal/oral corticosteroids are often enough to do the trick. If not, your doctor might be able to offer you stronger prescription medications.
Avoid venturing out during peak allergy times (mid-morning to mid-afternoon), especially if it’s windy. Keep windows and doors closed and run the A/C instead. This being Alabama in the summertime, you’re probably doing so anyway! Shower thoroughly after doing yardwork.
If you’re still experiencing allergy symptoms after trying these tricks, you might be a candidate for immunotherapy – a long-term treatment approach that builds up your body’s tolerance to allergens through injections or oral drops.
For more information on relieving summertime allergies, contact an ENT specialist in Huntsville or Madison.