An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Many allergens are naturally-occurring in the environment. Other allergens, such as smog, are manmade. Though you may experience an allergic reaction during any of the four seasons, the summer weather produces many specific allergens.
Depending on where you live, you may have an allergic reaction to tumbleweed, thistle, ragweed, cockleweed, sagebrush and/or pigweed. Among these weeds, ragweed is perhaps the most common cause of allergy symptoms in summer. Many types of grasses also trigger allergies. Bermuda grass, orchard grass, various blue grasses, Timothy-grass, and red top are common allergens.
Bees, hornets, ants and wasps are more active in summertime, which increases our risk of being stung or bitten. Though an insect bite or sting is not a serious problem for most people, some people have serious allergic reactions to them.
Dust mites are a common household allergen. Mites are tiny insects acclimated to hot weather. They live in bedding and carpets, and may cause people to develop cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing and a runny nose.
Hives, swelling, vomiting and itching are common signs of an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a serious form of an allergic reaction requiring immediate medical care. Symptoms of Anaphylaxis are as follows: cramps in the abdominal area, swelling, diarrhea, mouth or nose obstruction, itching, lowered blood pressure and trouble breathing.
Allergies can cause sinusitis, a condition in which the tissues lining the sinuses swell. Sinusitis can cause both discomfort and intense pain. Symptoms of sinusitis include stuffy or runny nose, coughing and facial pain. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis are as follows:
- Nasal blockage
- Runny nose/drainage
- Nasal pus
- Facial congestion
- Tooth pain
- Bad breath
Though allergic reactions and sinusitis are worrisome conditions, both can be treated by a healthcare professional. See a doctor for ways to avoid summer allergies and suggestions for medications to take.