Hay Fever in California: Symptoms & Treatment

With year-round sunshine, warm temperatures, and amazing scenery, California is one of the most beautiful places to live and visit throughout the year. Unfortunately, Californians still suffer from allergies just like the rest of the United States and, due to their mild winters and dry summers, seasonal allergies tend to stick around even longer than in other states in colder climates. The best months for allergy sufferers on the west coast are November through January, but even then, pollen counts are higher than normal which can cause flare-ups.

In addition to seasonal allergies, Californians especially, combat a condition called Hay Fever. In many cases, sufferers may not even know they have Hay Fever because everyday allergies can present similar symptoms as the fever. A runny nose, sore throat, watery eyes, and congestion are common symptoms of both seasonal allergies and Hay Fever. Unlike other allergies which typically go away on their own after you are no longer exposed to the substance, Hay Fever is a chronic condition and can last for months or longer. The most common allergens that can trigger Hay Fever are pollen, mold, and dust.

The new year is typically when elevated levels of tree pollen show up in the California area and the intensity depends on the amount of rainfall the area has seen. During a winter with higher precipitation, more trees, grasses, and weeds will produce pollen in the year ahead. Late spring and early summer welcome grass pollen to the allergy forecast, and those warm, dry, and windy conditions help spread the pollen throughout the year. Those famous Santa Ana winds are notorious for sending allergens into the air and exacerbating allergy issues.

If you do find yourself suffering from symptoms and are wondering if you could have Hay Fever, here is a brief overview of the condition, how it differs from everyday allergies, some signs and symptoms, and some of the treatment options that can help relieve discomfort.

Hay Fever vs. Allergies

The body develops allergies when it believes a foreign substance, or allergen, is harmful and attacks it. Unlike most invaders the body goes after, allergies are reactions to substances that are not harmful to most people – like dust or pollen. You can develop an allergy to nearly anything, and, when you come into contact with that substance, reactions like rashes, hives, fatigue and cold symptoms will occur.

Hay Fever is a little different than common allergies because it is a chronic allergic reaction. It is very common to mistake Hay Fever for a cold or allergy. The biggest difference is that Hay Fever symptoms do not go away after a short time or when the known trigger or invader dissipates.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

When you get Hay Fever, your symptoms are very similar to a cold you may experience:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Extreme fatigue

Hay Fever signs and symptoms can occur year-round or get worse at certain times of the year. These triggers most commonly include tree pollen (early spring), grass pollen (late spring and summer), ragweed pollen (fall), dust mites, pet dander, and mold.

As mentioned earlier, recognizing these symptoms as Hay Fever can be difficult because they look and feel very similar to your common cold or seasonal allergies. However, if you are noticing that you aren’t finding relief for several months, this could be a sign you have this chronic condition, and it is best to speak with a specialist.

Hay Fever in Children

Hay Fever can be a problem for anyone at any age, even children. Their symptoms are very similar to those in adults and look and sound like a cold or allergies. Seasonal allergies in children usually begin between ages 2-5 and their symptoms will most likely peak in their teens. If you notice that their symptoms are not going away, they are coughing more than normal, or they are experiencing sinus pain (not just congestion) that does not subside with allergy medication, it is time to see a specialist. Hay Fever symptoms make it difficult to go to school or attend normal activities and a diagnosis will help them get back to their routine.

Tips For Reducing Seasonal Allergies Indoors & Outdoors

In the meantime, here are a few tips to help reduce any seasonal allergy symptoms you may be experiencing throughout the year.

  • Plan outdoor activities around the forecast.
    Checking the pollen counts and forecasts can help you plan when to stay in or go out. Pollen is usually at its highest between 10am-5pm, but that can vary depending on the time of year, the weather, and other environmental factors. Dr. Buddiga is the co-inventor of PollenSense Counter Model Number APS-400 and the PollenSense mobile app which can be accessed here.
  • Know your triggers.
    Keep track of your symptoms, when you experience them, what you were doing at the time, and if anything changed when you went inside or outside. This can also help your allergist identify your triggers and help manage your symptoms.
  • Keep your home clean.
    Consider investing in an air filter to help maintain good indoor air quality. Keep your windows closed during the day can also help keep allergens like pollen outside. Vacuuming up dust and pet dander is another great way to keep triggers at bay.

Treatment Options Available for Hay Fever Season in California

If you suspect you are suffering from Hay Fever or are wondering about how to get your allergies under control, Dr. Buddiga is here to help. He regularly advises on the latest allergy, asthma, immunology, and skin conditions for children and adults and conducts in-depth testing to help identify the root cause of your symptoms and customize a treatment plan unique to your needs.

  • Skin Testing

    One way Dr. Buddiga can help identify your triggers is through skin testing. Whether you are suffering from a reaction to foods, chemicals, or the environment, he can often diagnose the allergy with patch testing. He applies a few drops of the purified allergen to the surface of the skin to see if there is a reaction to the substance.

  • Nasal Endoscopy

    For various sinus symptoms, Dr. Buddiga can also perform a nasal endoscopy using a camera to examine and diagnose viable conditions affecting the nasal passages, sinuses, throat, and vocal cords. A small amount of fluid can be collected to test for abnormal microorganism growth so he can then prescribe the best treatment.

Treatment options for each individual will vary and Dr. Buddiga will customize a course of action just for you after identifying the cause of your symptoms. From oral drops (sublingual immunotherapy) to shots, there is a plan just for you and your needs.

Schedule An Appointment

If you’re suffering, don’t wait! Scheduling with Dr. Buddiga is a breeze. Simply book a consultation during business hours by filling out the form on the website, or call 559-421-9009 to speak with a staff member to schedule your appointment. Relief is just a phone call away.

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