What is Allergy?
Allergy is a condition that is manifested in the form of a highly sensitive reaction of the body caused by direct contact with various allergic substances (allergens). When allergens enter the body, they trigger the production of special protein compounds called antibodies that neutralize the exposure of foreign substances. However, when the immune system is not working properly, it produces too many antibodies. The body mistakenly believes that allergens are harmful, causing unpleasant allergy symptoms.
- chronic dry cough
- nasal stuffiness (congestion), runny nose
- sneezing accompanied by watery eyes and nasal discharge
- itchy and teary eyes
- rash or burning of the skin
- itchy throat, nose, and ears
- redness, different types of skin problems
- gastrointestinal conditions
- nausea or vomiting after a meal
Allergic reactions can differ and include many different symptoms, depending on the type of allergy and allergens. Also, the severity of allergies varies from person to person.
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Common Allergy Triggers
- food (fruits, dairy products, etc.)
- plant pollen
- animal fur and body secretions
- insect bites
- certain ingredients in cosmetics and household products when touched
Besides, an allergic reaction can occur as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun and other factors. To determine the exact cause of the allergy, Lake Conway Clinic physicians perform physical examinations and order allergy tests, if necessary.
Seasonal Allergies (Hay Fever)
Pollen allergies usually occur during spring, summer, and fall, when plants are in bloom. However, allergy season in Florida lasts approximately ten months out of the year. With warm temperatures all year long, Florida's climate enables flowers and plants to actively produce pollen.
Most Common Types of Seasonal Allergies in Orlando
Tree Pollen Allergy
- Orange blossom. Orange trees typically begin producing pollen in April. People who are allergic to orange blossom pollen may cross-react with all citrus fruits.
- Bayberry. It is a dense shrub that produces large amounts of pollen from March to early July. In some cases, even the scent of the plant can cause allergic reactions.
- Oak. Yellow-green oak pollen coats cars and playgrounds from February to July.
- Cypress. Another significant tree allergen in Orlando. The flowering period lasts from February to May.
- Royal palms are popular in Florida and can trigger allergic reactions almost all year round. The symptoms usually get worse from January to June.
- River birch. It's a common cause of allergy symptoms, especially from late winter to early spring. People who are allergic to birch pollen experience itching of the throat or mouth, swelling of the oral mucosa, tooth pain.
- Pine. Pine trees release huge amounts of pollen during the flowering season, which starts in spring. This type of allergy is extremely rare.
Plant Pollen Allergy
- Melaleucas are popular garden plants in tropical areas. The usual peak flowering time is April-June. However, some people with a Malelauca allergy may often develop nearly year-round symptoms from February to September.
- Grasses and weeds, like ragweed. In Orlando, weed pollen season extends from April to December. This type of pollen most affects allergy sufferers from August through October.
How to Control Seasonal Allergies?
- Monitor the concentration of pollen in the air using allergy apps or websites. You can get a current pollen allergy forecast for Orlando at Pollen.com
- Wear a pollen filter mask outdoors.
- Change your clothes when you come home from outside.
- Rinse out your sinuses with a saline solution.
- Large amounts of pollen particles can settle on the hair. You should take a shower after spending long periods of time outside.
- Replace your indoor air filters every season.
- Bathe your pets once a week if they go outdoors.
- After being outside, it is better to put your clothes in the laundry and wipe your bag and shoes with a damp cloth.
- Pollen concentrations in the air are typically highest in the early morning, as well as on dry and windy days. Try to stay indoors during this time.
- Wash curtains and bed linens regularly.
See your physician if your allergy symptoms are bothering you or your allergy medicines don't work.
Allergy Treatment at Lake Conway Clinic
The treatment for an allergy depends largely on your symptoms, medical history, allergy triggers, and allergy test results. In most cases, our physicians will likely recommend one or more of the following steps.
- Try to avoid your allergy triggers.
- Take your allergy medication every day to help manage your symptoms.
- Get a course of immunotherapy (allergy shots). Over time, it suppresses the immune system's response to the allergen.
- It is important to have a warning in your medical record that you are allergic to a particular substance.
- If you are at risk of developing anaphylactic shock (an acute, life-threatening condition caused by an allergic reaction), you should carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) self-injection device with you.
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