Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, affects more than 35 million Americans. If you suffer from it, you may experience sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose, and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat eyes or ears. These allergic reactions are most commonly caused by pollen and mold spores in the air.
Pollen from plants with colorful flowers, like roses, usually do not cause allergies. These plants rely on insects to transport pollen for fertilization. On the other hand, many plants have flowers which produce light dry pollens that are easily spread by the wind and become airborne. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often caused by tree pollen in the early spring. During the late spring and early summer, grasses often cause symptoms. Late summer and fall hay fever is caused by weeds.
Molds are tiny fungi related to mushrooms but without stems, roots or leaves. Their spores float in the air like pollen. Molds can be found almost anywhere, including soil, plants and rotting wood. Outdoor mold spores begin to increase as temperatures rise in the spring and reach their peak in July in warmer states and October in the colder states. They can be found year-round in the South and on the West Coast.
Your treatment consists of medications, avoiding outdoor exposure at peak pollen times, and/or immunotherapy or allergy shots.