At the time of changing seasons, allergies like cough, sneezing and fever are quite common. Some people experience it more often than others, and it goes away when the season becomes subtle. Various factors are responsible for allergic responses, and a cure is available.
Seasonal allergies happen during certain times of the year, significantly when the seasons change from one to another. It could occur during any season. The fever from seasonal allergies is called ‘Hay Fever’ or seasonal allergic rhinitis. The symptoms of hay fever can look like true fever but it is different, it has various factors affecting and causing it and different treatments to cure it.
2- What is Allergy?
Allergy is the system-generated response of the immune system when a foreign particle triggers it. A foreign particle, also called an antigen, activates the immune system in response to which it generates antibodies that cause different responses like coughing, sneezing, and fever.
2.1- Classification of Allergies-
Based on the causes and severity of allergy, it is classified into various classes, like-
2.1.1- Type 1 Hypersensitivity-
It is an immediate type of reaction. It occurs due to food, pollen, drugs and insect stings.
2.1.2- Type 2 Hypersensitivity-
This occurs after an organ transplant when the body refuses to accept the transplanted organ. In this specific antibody, immunoglobulin M ( IgM) is released.
2.1.3- Type 3 Hypersensitivity-
It is an immune complex-mediated reaction. Several reaction steps occur in this, leading to local tissue destruction.
2.1.4- Type 4 Hypersensitivity-
It is a T-cell lymphocyte-generated response. T-cells take a few hours to a few days to mount a response, so they have a delayed reaction.
2.2- Symptoms of Allergy-
Some common symptoms of allergies are-
· Itching eyes, ears, throat and roof of mouth
· Nausea and vomiting
· Skin rashes
· Runny nose and eyes
· Shortness of breath
· Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
3- Allergy Development Factors-
Allergies generate immune responses against the particles, which are generally harmless but in some cases it can be harmful like Anaphylaxis. Some key factors that can contribute to the development of allergies are:
3.1- Environmental Factors-
Exposure to certain allergens present in the environment, like pollen, insects, pet dander, and certain foods, plays a significant role in causing allergies.
3.2- Genetic Factors-
Allergies have a genetic component when they run in families heredity. If both parents have an allergy, then the children will also develop it, and if one of the parents has an allergy, then there is also a partial chance that the baby can develop it.
3.3- Exposure to allergens-
Early childhood exposure to potential allergens may influence the development of allergies. For example, children raised in environments with fewer microbial exposures may be at a higher risk of developing allergies.
3.4- Hypothesis related to Cleanliness-
According to this hypothesis, reduced early childhood exposure to infections and parasites may increase the risk of allergies. To develop properly, the immune system requires exposure to various stimuli, and an overly clean environment may impede this process.
3.5- Nutrition & Diet-
According to some research, diet during pregnancy and early childhood may influence the development of allergies. Breastfeeding and introducing certain foods at the appropriate time can have an effect.
Certain childhood infections may protect against the development of allergies. The balance between infection exposure and excessive cleanliness is critical in developing the immune system.
3.7- Pollution of Air-
Excessive exposure to air pollution may contribute to the development of allergies. Pollutants can aggravate pre-existing allergies or cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them.
Allergies can appear at any age, but some may appear or change over time. Hormonal changes, such as those associated with puberty or pregnancy, can also have an impact on the severity of allergic reactions.
4- What are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are also called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. It is a Type 1 hypersensitivity that occurs due to pollen dust, foods, chemicals, grasses, and weeds. It is an immediate type reaction, for instance, when an allergen triggers the immune system an immediate response occurs in the form of sneezing, coughing or itching.
4.1- Types of Seasonal Allergies-
Seasonal allergies can vary in severity and timing depending on the specific allergens an individual is sensitive to. Different types of pollen are associated with the three major types of seasonal allergies:
4.1.1- Tree Pollen Allergy (Spring):
In the spring, trees release pollen, and common culprits include oak, birch, cedar, maple, and pine trees. The allergy caused by this is tree pollen allergy.
4.1.2-Grass Pollen Allergy (Late Spring to Early Fall):
In the late spring and early summer, grasses release pollen. Timothy, Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, and ryegrass are all common grass allergens. The allergy caused by this is grass pollen allergy.
4.1.3-Weed Pollen Allergy (Late Summer to Fall):
In the late summer and fall, weeds release pollen. Ragweed, sagebrush, lamb’s quarters, pigweed, and tumbleweed are all common allergens. The allergy caused by this is weed pollen allergy.
4.2- Difference between Seasonal Allergies and Perennial Allergies-
Perennial allergies also called perennial rhinitis is a year-round allergic response to indoor airborne substances like dust mites, house dust, cockroach droppings or pet hair or dander. It is clinically an inflammatory nose condition characterized by nose congestion, sneezing, etc.
Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever, occur when the seasonal change occurs and produces certain allergens that trigger the immune system for an immediate response.
Managing both perennial and seasonal allergies is quite similar, identifying the specific allergens and implementing measures to control exposure.
5- Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Fever?
Seasonal allergies typically do not cause true fever. Instead, they cause hay fever. The symptoms of hay fever can look like true fever but it is different as it is generally a result of the body’s immune system’s response to specific allergens.
5.1- Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies-
Symptoms that an individual with “hay fever” might feel are-
Fatigue can also be misunderstood as feverish sensations; when the allergens or the antigens attack the immune system, it generates antibodies to fight the allergens that cause inflammation. During the process, inflammatory mediators are released, which gives the fever-like symptoms.
Pyrexia is also called elevated body temperature. Some individuals can feel elevated body temperature during allergic reactions due to the release of inflammatory mediators (cytokines, leukotrienes).
Allergic reactions can lead to sinus congestion, which may cause headaches. It can also cause body ache which gives fever-like symptoms.
5.1.4- Systemic Inflammation-
Various symptoms that occur due to the release of inflammatory mediators are sneezing, itching, congestion and a general feeling of discomfort which gives fever-like symptoms.
5.2- How to Diagnose Seasonal Allergy-
Some general ways to diagnose seasonal allergies are-
5.2.1- Recognize and Record the Symptoms-
Some common symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, malaise and watery or itchy eyes. These symptoms occur in the specific seasonal change.
5.2.2- Identify the Triggers-
Record in which conditions the symptoms worsen and try to identify the allergens. For instance, if the symptoms worsen when you go to a flower garden, the allergens must be pollen.
5.2.3- Allergy Testing-
Some specific blood tests, especially IgE tests, are conducted to identify the allergens triggering the condition.
If the condition is not getting better, then consult a healthcare professional who can prescribe some medicines like antihistamines, nasal decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, etc.
If food allergies are suspected then the healthcare professional may recommend an elimination diet.
5.3- What Causes Hay fever?
Allergic rhinitis or hay fever develops when your immune system responds to an irritant in the air. The allergens (irritants) are so small that you can easily inhale them through your nose or mouth.
By releasing natural chemicals into your bloodstream, your immune system attempts to protect your body. Histamine is the primary chemical. It causes inflammation and itching of the mucous membranes in your nose, eyes, and throat as they work to expel the allergen from your body.
6-Methods to Control Seasonal Allergies-
Some methods to manage seasonal allergies are:
6.1- Physical Methods-
· Identifying the specific allergens and trying to avoid exposure during peak season.
· During high pollen seasons, to avoid outdoor exposure it is necessary to keep the windows closed.
· Using air purifiers in homes.
· Maintaining the indoor air quality by regular cleaning and dusting of the house and keeping the humidity level low.
· Wearing sunglasses and hats outdoors will cover the eyes and nose from pollen.
· After spending time outdoors it is necessary to take a shower and change clothes.
6.2- Chemical Methods-
· Using saline nasal sprays to rinse the nasal passage and avoid allergens.
· Allergy medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal corticosteroids can help alleviate symptoms. Consult a healthcare professional for guidance on the best options for you.
· If over-the-counter antihistamines do not work, your doctor may prescribe stronger antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or other medications.
· In severe or recurring allergies, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be recommended to gradually desensitize the immune system.
· Keep an eye out for local pollen forecasts so you can plan your activities accordingly.
· Indoor allergens, such as pet dander and dust mites, should also be avoided.
7-Treatment of Seasonal Allergies-
Treatment of seasonal allergies often involves a variety of combination therapy and lifestyle modifications along with environmental factors. Some are:
· By blocking the action of histamine, antihistamines such as loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, and others can help relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
· Decongestants like pseudoephedrine can help relieve nasal congestion by constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages. They are frequently available without a prescription.
· Nasal corticosteroids, such as fluticasone, budesonide, or mometasone, can help reduce inflammation and alleviate nasal symptoms. These are sprayed directly into the nostrils.
· A leukotriene modifier like montelukast can help manage allergic rhinitis symptoms.
· For more comprehensive symptom relief, some medications combine antihistamines with decongestants.
· If you have itchy or watery eyes, you can use antihistamine eye drops to relieve the symptoms.
· SLIT entails placing an allergen-containing tablet or liquid under the tongue. It’s another type of immunotherapy that can be done at home under the supervision of a doctor.
· Allergen immunotherapy may be recommended for people who have severe or persistent allergies. This entails administering allergen injections on a regular basis to gradually desensitize the immune system. It is usually given under the supervision of an allergist.
7.2- Environmental Factors-
· Reduce allergen exposure by using air purifiers, closing windows during high pollen seasons, and cleaning living spaces on a regular basis.
· Identify and avoid specific allergens to the greatest extent possible. Stay indoors, for example, during peak pollen season.
8- Seasonal Allergies in Children-
8.1- Difference between Asthma and Allergies-
The symptoms of allergy and asthma are quite similar but they are two different conditions.
Asthma is a chronic condition that arises in the lungs while allergies are the immediate response generated by the immune system due to some allergens.
8.1.1- Asthma Attack in Children-
The typical asthmatic child’s airways are inflamed or swollen. As a result, they are overly sensitive. When the airways (called bronchial tubes) come into contact with an asthma “trigger”—something that causes an asthma attack—they overreact by constricting (getting narrower).
Substances that can trigger asthma attacks are air pollutants, viruses, certain fumes, cold air and other allergens.
Allergic rhinitis can occur seasonally or all year. A history is taken, the nasal passages are examined, and sometimes skin testing is performed. The symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, and red, watery, and itchy eyes.
An allergic reaction causes itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and fever. Seasonal allergies can cause fever in response to the irritant present in the air and show specific symptoms. They are frequently passed down via generations. These allergies go away when the season changes, but if they are persistent for a longer period, then consulting a healthcare professional is necessary.