Not the Common Cold
The coming of spring or fall brings a higher pollen count. For those individuals suffering from allergies, it is one of the worst times of the year. Certain individuals, however, have to deal with allergy problems all year long. Perennial allergies can either occur at any time of the year, or can last all year long.
Cause of Allergies
Most allergy-causing substances (called "allergens") consist of pollens, molds, fibers, dust and animal dander. While these substances are in the house all year long, their effects may become more intense during the winter months when more time is spent indoors. While most diagnoses are based off medical history, the condition can also run in families. Year-round allergies commonly cause nasal symptoms (called "allergic rhinitis"), but will usually not cause eye symptoms (called "allergic conjunctivitis"). However, if certain substances (such as make up, hair dye, or eye disorder medication) are placed in the eye, allergic symptoms can occur.
Symptoms of Year-Round Allergies
Year round allergies can cause several flu-like symptoms, may start gradually or abruptly, and include itching of the nose, roof of mouth, back of throat, and eyes. Sneezing is common, as is a runny nose, watery discharge, and general stuffiness. The eustachian tube between the middle ear and back of nose can become swollen, resulting in hearing impairment. Eyes may water and itch or become red and swollen. Many perennial allergy sufferers may also have asthma or eczema.
Preventing and Treating Year-Round Allergies
While there are remedies available, the easiest way to avoid symptoms is to avoid the allergen, if possible. Frequent cleaning and use of an air filter (such as a HEPA filter) can also help remove airborne irritants and dust mites. Dust collecting items, such as books, magazines, and small knickknacks should be cleaned or removed. The same goes for all fabric materials in the house, such as drapes, bed covers, carpeting, pillows, and furniture. Either an individual can clean them frequently, or place a plastic cover over them for dust protection.
Medications for perennial allergies can also be used to the same effect as seasonal allergies, whether it is prescription or over-the counter remedies, such as nasal sprays. Other Perennial allergy patients use neti pots (which works as a nasal irrigation tool), honey, or spicy foods to clear out the sinuses. If a year-round allergy patient has a pet, it's advisable that the owner washes their pet frequently to reduce the amount of dander (skin flakes) in their fur. Regular cleaning can reduce airborne allergens dramatically.
Controlling Your Allergies
While controlling year round allergies can be a time consuming task, the resulting benefits associated with easier breathing should make your efforts worth your time. While there is no "definitive" set tactic to remove related issues, combining efforts or even simple trial and error strategies will often lead to the most ideal results. As with any medical condition, it is important to check with a physician for their opinion and the best possible remedies for the situation.
Photo Credit: SnapShotStrawn