What happens when you have seasonal allergies

Brittany Jones-Cooper

Sneeze, sniff, repeat. If this sounds like you, there’s a good chance you have seasonal allergies. So why does something as simple and natural as pollen send our bodies into overdrive? Look no further than your immune system. Pollen is considered to be an allergen, and when an allergen gets inside of your body, the immune system goes into defense mode. This results in the release of a chemical called histamine that causes a handful of unpleasant reactions. Some of the most common symptoms include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes and itching. If your symptoms are mild, the simplest way to treat your allergies is to try an over-the-counter treatment like an antihistamine, decongestant, or nasal corticosteroid. These solutions work for a lot of people, but if you don’t find relief, it might be time to visit a physician. Purvi Parikh, MD, is an allergist who says there are two tests that can help doctors pinpoint the specific allergens that are causing discomfort. “With a skin test we scratch the surface of your skin with various different allergens,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “If you’re allergic it makes a little red bump over that specific allergen.” The other option is a blood test where doctors measure IgE (immunoglobulin E) — the antibody responsible for allergic reactions. If you’re exposed to an allergen and are allergic to it, IgE levels will go up in your blood sample.