Spring is the key time of year for seasonal allergies. The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen, and trees, grasses, and weeds release these tiny grains into the air to fertilise other plants this time of the year.
This is the time when nature is busy in the process of pollination. Pollen grains are everywhere in the air, and inhaling them could cause severe allergies in some people including rashes, cough, hay fever, asthma, congestion, wheezing, etc. There are different kinds of allergies and different kinds of triggers. When the body inhales pollens, the immune system immediately releases antibodies to attack the allergens along with another chemical known as histamines, which trigger cough, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus, headaches, etc.
‘The onset of spring brings with it the annual allergy trap of wheezing, sneezing or being covered with rashes.’
"When someone allergic to pollen comes in contact with it, the immune system releases antibodies that attack the allergens. This leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood, which in turn trigger runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals, ear congestion, postnasal drainage. Pollen can travel for miles, so it's not just about the plants in your neighbourhood," says Dr RK Singal, Principal Consultant and Director, Internal Medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.
People tend to inherit certain genetic disposition towards allergies. During spring, the immune system of the body is exposed to different allergens and forms allergy-specific antibodies (called immunoglobulins), which are present in the cells of your eyes, nose, lungs and skin.
So, the next time the person comes in contact with a particular allergen, their body reacts by releasing chemicals called histamines, leading to an allergic reaction," explains Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Consultant- Department of Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad. Mold allergy is another common allergy people suffer from in the spring. "Caused by spores of fungus that generally grows in moist, the allergy is triggered by exposure to dark spaces like garbage cans, piles of rotting leaves or basements where mold grows quite quickly. Symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, along with rash or wheezing," says Dr Vivek Mehta Pulastya's-Cadle Skin Laser Clinic, MBBS, MD (Dermatology).
Drug allergies, food allergies to items like egg, milk, gluten (wheat), peanut, kiwi, shell fish, soy, sesame and mustard seeds, latex allergy, chicken pox and measles are some of the other diseases people are more to this time of the year.
Dr Vivek adds that one must get a skin allergy test, which involves either a pricking the surface of the skin with a tiny amount of allergen (prick test), or injecting a tiny sample of a diluted allergen under the skin of your arm or back. "If you're allergic to the substance, a small red bump (called a wheal or hive) will form. Sometimes, doctor may also get your blood tests done," he says.