When you have no noticeable allergies most of the year and then you suddenly experience something akin to a head cold, you may have seasonal allergies. Since a doctor will ask you a lot about what you are experiencing and have experienced before, it helps if you can supply him/her with additional information prior to going through allergy testing. Here is how to determine if you have seasonal allergies.
Once a Year Reaction
If you experience the itching, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, scratchy throat, and itchy, watery eyes only during one season of the year, observe that season for these symptoms. Then observe which days or weeks you experience your symptoms. This helps narrow down the time frame of when you are most likely to experience allergies.
Studying Allergy Charts
Both newscasters and newspapers keep track of outdoor allergens for allergy sufferers. They will tell you when mold, pollen, ragweed, spores, etc., are all high and may have an effect on you. If these charts do not coincide with the time of the year that you experience symptoms (e.g., winter), then you may not be allergic to outdoor allergens. You may, in fact, be allergic to indoor allergens instead, which have a tendency to increase in winter because you stay inside more often.
On the other hand, if you observe that your symptoms are at their worst on days when mold counts are extremely high, that may be the allergen that triggers your symptoms. Studying allergy charts and keeping track of your experiences can significantly narrow down the possible allergens. Then you can share what you know with the doctor, and he/she can test you for just those allergens and not every allergen that exists.
Riding the Symptoms Out
While your doctor can prescribe a prescription medication for you, it is better just to ride the storm out, so to speak. Prescribed allergy medications are often the final resort to serious and chronic allergies. Sufferers have to have ongoing symptoms that cause them to miss work and lose sleep.
If you can get some relief from over-the-counter medications, your doctor is likely to tell you to try those first. Seasonal allergies eventually diminish as the days wear on, so your symptoms should decrease as well. Still, if you want to know exactly which allergens are a problem, a doctor at clinics like Southern Allergy and Asthma PC can proceed with allergy testing anyway so you know what days to avoid going outside.