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Information on the Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Tests For Fall Allergy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Some people are more prone to allergies than others. Pollen from blooming plants is a common culprit causing allergies in spring and summer. With the onset of crispy winds, rain and cooler temperatures in fall, the number of flowering plants may be fewer, but fall allergies still affect millions of people each year. Those who suffer from pollen allergies in spring are prone to suffer more of the same in fall, this time from ragweed pollen and mold.

Tests Recommended

Blood tests and skin tests are the most common of fall allergies tests. Alternative medicine uses a test called muscle testing with kinesiology to find allergens, though the test is unsubstantiated. A blood test checks for antibodies that indicate that the individual is sensitive to allergens like ragweed. The results for a blood test may take up to week to obtain. A skin prick test introduces the suspected allergen under the skin, and if there is a reaction with itching, redness and swelling, it confirms the sensitivity to that allergen. In muscle testing with kinesiology, the chiropractic practitioner holds a vial with the allergen on the patients head or in front of him and tests the patient’s muscular strength by applying counter pressure on the arm held out by the patient. Inability to resist the counter pressure indicates sensitivity.

Causes

Plenty of rain, followed by days of warm sun, is ideal for the growth of ragweed, which proliferates in summer and blooms from the end of August to mid-September, releasing the allergy causing pollen in the air. This pollen can travel hundreds of miles in the air, and even affect those who do not have ragweed growing in their neighborhood. Apart from ragweed pollen, dust mites, and mold spores are also known fall allergy causes. Even if they are careful to avoid exposure to dust, people that are allergic to dust mites may get runny noses, sneezing, and so on when the air conditioner is turned on in summer or when the heating furnace is turned on in fall. Mold spores, from damp basements and bathrooms and from piles of rotting leaves in the yard, are another major cause of fall allergies.

Symptoms

Sneezing, wheezing, runny noses and congestion are some of the common fall allergies symptoms reported. Swelling in the nasal passages may be seen as the body makes an effort to prevent the offending pollen from entering. Inflammation and congestion in the veins leading to the sinuses causes dark circles to appear under the eyes. Fall allergies, also called hay fever is something that most people go through at least once in their life, though symptoms may be mild for those who have a robust immunity system. Allergic rhinitis may also cause nose bleeds, and in some people, may cause the growth of nasal polyps. Itchy eyes are another common symptom of these allergies.

Treatment

Immunotherapy is recommended for those who routinely get seasonal allergies. Allergy shots, with gradually increased levels of the offending allergen are given to stimulate the immune system into building a tolerance for the allergen in the long term. Usually, antihistamines are prescribed to ease the troublesome symptoms that plague those with fall allergies. They work by blocking the action of histamines released by the body’s immune system by preventing them from attaching themselves to receptors in the nose and throat. Nasal decongestants may be prescribed to relieve runny noses and blocked sinuses. Eye drops may be prescribed if itchy eyes are a symptom. Some over the counter allergy medication may be a combination of antihistamines and decongestants. Corticosteroids are found to be very effective in dealing with allergy symptoms like skin rashes and congestion, as they reduce inflammation. Simple over the counter medication includes saline nasal sprays used to clear congestion.

Herbal treatment for allergies includes tablets of the herb butterbur as well as medication with nettles and golden seal. Grape seed extract and quercetin, a flavonoid found in red wine, are effective against allergy symptoms when combined with adequate doses of vitamin C. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in the treatment of allergy symptoms. Food intolerance is said to be closely related to seasonal allergies, and those with ragweed allergy are advised not to eat food, such as melons, bananas, sun flower seeds, and herbal supplements with Echinacea as they can aggravate the symptoms. Prevention is the best of all fall allergies treatments. So, avoid outdoor activity when the pollen count in the air is reported to be high. Check local radio stations, newspapers, or on the Internet to find out seasonal highs in pollen count in the ambient air. Avoid working in the yard, raking leaves, or mowing in fall when mold spores from wet mounds of fallen leaves can trigger an allergic reaction. Filtering indoor air with a high efficiency particle arresting filter is the best way to ensure that pollen, dust mites, and mold do not pollute indoor air.

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