Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes seasonal allergies?"
I have allergies in the spring. What brings them on? They are really bad.
Allergies are caused by an immune system reaction to something other than an invading bacteria or virus. They are mediated by a special arm of the immune system that is supposed to be involved in fighting off parasites. Instead, it decides to react to other things that you end up being allergic to. In the case of seasonal allergies, many people have an allergy to pollen. Pollen begins showing itself on different flowering plants sometime in the spring. This is when seasonal allergies start. When you are exposed to this allergen, your immune system releases histamine which causes a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sometimes even red marks on your skin called hives. The good news is that there are treatments that can help your allergies stay controlled. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). He or she can listen to your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. You will likely walk out of the doctors office with a prescription for an antihistamine medication (which blocks the effects of histamine) and a nasal inhaler. The purpose of the nasal inhaler is to prevent the runny nose symptom from every starting up. The purpose of the antihistamine is to reduce your symptoms after they start. If your symptoms are not controlled by these measures, your doctor may refer you to an allergist. Good luck.
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