Spring is over. Summer is here! For many people with springtime allergies, this is a relief. Unfortunately, the summer offers allergy issues of its own.
While tree pollen is mostly gone, grass pollen is here and can cause all the same symptoms triggered by tree pollen: itchy/watery eyes, sneezing and stuffy/runny nose. In the late summer, weed pollen (ragweed) blooms and can cause similar allergy issues.
Pollen can also trigger a specific type of food allergy called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). OAS is a reaction to the fresh fruits and vegetables that we love to eat during the summer. It is caused by a cross reaction between proteins found in pollen that are similar to proteins in specific fruits and vegetables. For instance, people with a birch tree allergy may get an itchy mouth after eating fresh apples, peaches and cherries, but they are able to tolerate cooked forms of these foods.
Since we are spending more time outdoors during the summer months, we are more likely to come in contact with a stinging insect, such as a wasp or a bee. Fortunately, most people only have local reactions to insect stings, typically swelling, redness and pain at the site. However, less than 5% of the population will have a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting, which can be life threatening. Allergists are able to test for a bee sting allergy and can offer allergy shots that are 98% effective in preventing a severe reaction to a future sting.
For all these reasons, if you suspect summertime is giving you allergy issues, see one of our Board Certified Allergists for evaluation and management.