8 Common Causes (and Treatments) of Year-Round Allergies
If you experience allergies, you know it’s absolutely no fun! Year-round allergies, also known as perennial allergies, occur when you come into contact with something you’re allergic to no matter what the season is.
While dealing with symptoms of year-round allergies can be a pain, it helps to know common causes and treatments. Also know that you aren’t alone – approximately 50 million Americans experience allergy symptoms each year.
What Causes Year-Round Allergies?
When your immune system is hypersensitive to a particular substance, an allergic reaction can occur. This substance is called an allergen, which we’ll get more into in a moment.
When allergens bind to antibodies in the body, a reaction occurs. While most allergens are harmless, our body may have an adverse reaction anyway to fight it off if our immune system deems it as dangerous. This is where an allergic reaction comes into play. Many times, our bodies must be exposed to an allergen several times before it starts to react.
Note: If you’re not sure what substance you’re allergic to, a medical professional can perform a test. Your diagnosis can come from a skin test, blood test, or elimination diet (for possible food allergy).
While there are various year-round allergies, these are the most common ones:
- Animals: allergy to protein in the skin, fur, saliva
- Pollen: mostly comes from trees, weeds, and grass (higher in the Spring, Summer, and Fall)
- Food: most commonly milk, eggs, nuts, soy, and fish
- Dust mites: microscopic, insect-like pests that commonly live in house dust in areas like mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, rugs, and curtains
- Insects: usually cockroaches, bees, and yellow jackets
- Mold spores: floats in the air in the form of tiny particles
- Medication: common triggers include antibiotics (such as Penicillin), anti-inflammatory medication such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, and chemotherapy treatment
- Latex: found in products such as balloons, rubber bands, bandages, and household/medical gloves; typically requires continual exposure
While anyone can experience allergies, a couple of factors may increase your chances. Being under the age of 18 puts you at a higher risk. If you have a family history of asthma or allergies, you may also be at an increased risk. If you already have asthma, your asthma symptoms could heighten during an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of Common Year-Round Allergies
Allergy reactions vary depending on the specific allergy and person. You’ll notice that many allergies have similar symptoms, the most common one being a stuffy nose.
- Animal allergy: sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, red eyes, itchiness around the eyes, postnasal drip
- Pollen allergy: runny and itchy nose, upset stomach (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea), trouble breathing, swelling around the mouth, dizziness, wheezing, coughing
- Food allergy: hives, itching, swelling in and around the mouth, nasal congestion, wheezing, trouble breathing, upset stomach (pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting), dizziness
- Dust mite allergy: sneezing, runny nose, decongestion, itchiness of the face, red and watery eyes, postnasal drip, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing
- Insect allergy: sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, skin rash, wheezing
- Mold allergy: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, nasal congestion, itchy and/or sore throat
- Medication allergy: swelling, shortness of breath, skin rash, hives, itchiness, fever, wheezing, runny nose
- Latex allergy: itching, swelling, hives, runny nose, sneezing, breathing issues
When reacting to an allergy, you may experience a little to a lot of symptoms. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. If you experience a serious allergic reaction, it’s always best to contact a medical professional.
Seasonal vs. Year-Round Allergies
Sometimes allergies outbreak seasonally, depending on specific allergens. Some allergens are more present during certain times of the year, while others exist no matter what the season is.
Year-round allergies typically result from indoor exposure. Common perennial allergies include pet dander, dust mites, and mold.
Most seasonal allergies occur in the summer because it’s a reaction to pollen from grass, trees, and weeds. Pollen reactions increase in Spring and Summer because trees pollinate when it’s warm. Outdoor allergens such as insects are also more prevalent during these seasons since we spend more time outside when the weather is nice.
While food allergies can last all year, you can have a reaction to fruits and vegetables in the summer if you’re allergic to pollen. This is because pollen transfers to produce.
It is possible to have both seasonal and year-round allergies. But, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to help control your symptoms.
Treatment Options For Chronic Allergies
While it can be possible to manage an allergy, allergies aren’t curable. With that said, finding relief can make all the difference. Chronic allergies, or year-round allergies, can really take a toll on you. So, here are some treatments that may alleviate your symptoms.
- Antihistamine medication: helps with nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchiness
- Saline nasal rinse: reduces or eliminates decongestion
- Corticosteroid cream: alleviates skin rashes
- Immunotherapy: a preventative treatment that gradually exposes an allergic person to the allergen (typically used only if someone is severely sensitive to multiple allergens)
- CBD (Cannabidiol): helps regulate the immune system to eliminate or decrease allergic reactions
- Know your triggers: steer clear of the substances you react to whenever possible
- Regular showers: washing hair and skin daily can help specifically with a pollen allergy to remove the substance
- Frequent house cleaning: this helps to eliminate the allergen; regularly wash linens and toys, vacuum, mop, and dust
- Hydrate: extra liquid thins out the mucus to relieve decongestion; warm drinks are even better because of their steam
- Acupuncture: research shows that acupuncture may decrease symptoms of a pollen allergy
- Humidifier: steam from a humidifier can treat decongestion; you could also steam water on the stove
- Dehumidifier: if damp air or too much humidity is causing mold, dehumidifying is a better option to reduce moisture in the air
- Rest: allow your body to recover by getting plenty of rest
- Take probiotics: can help enhance the immune system to alleviate an allergic reaction
- Essential oils: various essential oils can treat symptoms such as sore throat and stuffiness
Many BoomBoom customers have found that the essential oils and menthol in our nasal inhalers provide allergy relief. Here’s what they’ve said after trying BoomBoom:
Year-round allergies are far from enjoyable. However, we hope that learning more about causes and treatments helps you feel ready to tackle your symptoms. Being mindful of allergens and finding treatment options that work for you should be a huge help. If you find yourself experiencing a serious reaction, contact a medical professional.
If your allergy symptoms are disrupting your sleep, read about how you can get the best night’s sleep for your body.