An allergy is when your body reacts badly to something that doesn’t bother most people.
Someone can be allergic to:
- A food
- A medicine
- A cat or dog
- A plant or flower
Some allergies happen mostly during the spring, summer or fall.
These are called “seasonal allergies”.
Seasonal allergies can also be called “hay fever.”
You may have seasonal allergies if each year at the same time, you:
- Have itchy, watery eyes
- Have a stuffy or runny nose
- Have an itchy nose and throat
- Have a swollen face or a headache
- Sneeze or cough a lot
- Have trouble breathing
Why do seasonal allergies only happen during certain seasons?
Because seasonal allergies are caused by pollen.
Pollen is powder that comes from trees, weeds and grasses as they grow during the year.
Pollen is tiny and blows in the air – like dust.
When you breathe it in you may have an allergic reaction.
The level of pollen in the air can be different on different days.
- To find out how much pollen is in the air where you live, check out this website.
Seasonal allergies are very common. One out of five people has one.
You’re even more likely to have a seasonal allergy if:
- You’re allergic to other things like dust or animals
- You have asthma or eczema
- Other people in your family have seasonal allergies
People with seasonal allergies are more likely to develop asthma.
Seasonal allergies can make it hard for you to breathe.
It’s important to get treatment.
Call your doctor’s office and describe your symptoms.
Follow your doctor’s orders.
How is a seasonal allergy different from a cold or the flu?
Seasonal allergies can make you sneeze and cough, have a stuffy or runny nose, or swollen sinuses.
But a cold or the flu can make you feel the same way!
This list can help you decide if you have a cold or seasonal allergies.
If you are allergic to pollen, try to avoid it.
Stay inside on warm, windy days when lots of pollen is in the air.
Use air conditioning and air filters at home.
Change your furnace filters regularly.
Close car windows.
Wear a dust mask and wrap-around sunglasses outside.
Take a shower to rinse pollen off yourself.
It’s easy to treat some allergies.
If you have a stuffy nose, a hot shower may help you breathe more easily.
If your eyes are swollen and itchy, cover them with a cool, damp cloth.
Ask your doctor about other ways to relieve allergy symptoms without medicines.
Medication can treat serious allergy symptoms.
Your doctor may give you medication that can:
- Clear your nose
- Stop itchy eyes
- Control your allergic reaction
Talk with your doctor before you take any medication – even over-the-counter medication advertised on TV!