Allergy isn’t something unheard-of, we can easily find someone that’s allergic to one thing or more. Sometimes very annoying, and other times a little less, but the truth stays, it is not something we would rather have. Seasonal allergy is no different from that.
We know almost everyone has had some kind of seasonal allergic reaction before, but are seasonal allergies genetic? The reason this question is asked so much nowadays, is because a lot of things is hereditary.
Before we look into that we first need to know what an allergy is, and its causes and then we can make a conclusion about it. So let’s dive right in.
What Exactly Are Allergies?
When someone’s allergic to something, their body behave differently, for example if someone was allergic to shrimp ( very common allergy) their tongue would start to tingle, they might get nauseated or have some minor stomach pain. That is the reaction your body gives you when you are allergic to something.
That is your body’s way of saying “This seems harmful, I will protect you”. Allergy simply said is just an abnormal way of your body reacting to substances like pollen, spores, dust, a specific kind of food or fur…
Your body becomes hypersensitive, and your immune system will get to work right away, thinking there’s something harmful happening to your body. Your immune system will start releasing chemicals, one of them in particular called histamine, is the reason you experience the symptoms. These chemicals will be released into the bloodstream.
Common Symptoms And Diagnosis
If you or someone you know seems to get a cold around the same time every year, it is very likely seasonal allergy is to blame. Seasonal allergies, sometimes called hay fever, can be very sudden and may even last til your body is no longer exposed to the substance that first triggers it.
The symptoms of seasonal allergy is very similar to that of a cold. Below I am going to list the most common symptoms you can find for seasonal allergy:
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose
- Itchy throat
Some less common symptoms are:
- Infrequent coughing
- Shortness of breath
The diagnosis can be made by a doctor, if you think you or someone you know have an allergy, just consult with your doctor. Your doctor will most likely ask you questions based on the frequency of the reoccurring symptoms, and during what time, and then with the answers and a physical exam, he can then determine the diagnosis.
If the doctor still can’t determine the cause, you can try going to an allergist for a skin test. There are two ways to find out. First one is by dropping a drop of liquid allergen onto the skin, the skin will then be pierced with a pricking device or needle and if the skin starts reacting to it, a bump will rise on your skin.
Second one is by injecting allergen directly into the skin, right under the skin. This method is a little more painful, but not too painful. It could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes before you start seeing your skin reacting to it, but when it does, you will see the area injected with allergen turning into what looks like mosquito bites.
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter
The name, seasonal allergies already tells us it is seasonal, every season can have a different cause of seasonal allergy, spring, summer, fall or winter.
The most uncomfortable season to go by for people with pollen allergy is during springtime. Grasses and trees will start releasing pollen into the air for reproduction purposes, and when someone allergic to these pollen get in contact with it, in the eyes or mouth, allergic reaction will start coming.
People that are allergic to pollen will most likely continue having issues during the summer. Even though trees have stopped producing pollen at this point, grasses and weed are still there and are responsible for allergens during this time of the year. The causes of summertime allergies are grasses and certain weed types.
The most common trigger of seasonal allergies during the summer is grass. So…be warned!
Fall or autumn is the season for ragweed, ragweed produces a common allergen, they are found in North and South America from August to October. Pollen from ragweed can travel great distances and allergy from these pollen are usually more severe.
If you live near a damp or somewhere in an area where it is moist, be careful of molds. Big piles of leaves from trees will start forming everywhere, and underneath the leaves mold will start to form
Finally! Winter is here, that means no more pollen! that’s true, pollen allergy will probably be allergens…there’s always a but. During this time of the year, most of us are usually found indoor, but there are indoor allergens as well such as molds and dust mites.
Indoor allergens are usually environmental, and it can be taken care of easily. Try to keep your home tidy for winter, that’s a good start.
Your Genes And Allergies
Are your genes just as responsible as pollen that triggers certain types of allergy, like hay fever? If your father and mother are responsive to a certain type of allergy, the chances are that you are also very likely to respond to it.
Even if you and your parents are for example allergic to seafood or peanuts, that doesn’t necessarily mean your little brother or little sister are too. It is actually more likely for them to be allergic to something else than seafood or peanuts.
With that said, scientist are researching for the connection between genes and allergy, what genetic has to do with allergy in general. The allergy genes can one day predict how much of an effect it has on allergies, the different types of allergies. Too bad our science aren’t that far yet.
So in some sense, yes, seasonal allergies can be hereditary, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% the reason you are allergic. Genetic has about a fifty fifty responsibility for your allergic reactions or maybe even slightly less than fifty. There are other things you need to factor in, things like environment, domestic pets, air pollution, medication and even your diet.
Though the fact that if both of your parents have some kind of allergy, you will most likely develop some form of allergy as well, it could manifest early on during your teenage years or later, in your adulthood.
If you have any questions about allergy and genes, feel free to ask or if you have any insights about this particular topic, feel free to share it. The more we share, the more we know!