Fall Allergies in San Diego: When to See an Allergist

For many San Diegans, allergies are a year-round annoyance that only gets worse during fall and winter. Hot, dry Santa Ana winds (most prevalent during the months of October through March) cause pollen levels to surge, often triggering or exacerbating symptoms. Scripps AMG is here to help you consider the symptoms and determine whether it’s time to see an allergist for additional support with managing your fall allergies.


Identifying Allergy Symptoms

Allergies are one of the most common chronic medical conditions in the United States. Approximately 50 million Americans have asthma, hay fever, or other allergy-related conditions.

Often, the symptoms of allergies develop gradually over time. An allergic reaction typically causes a reaction in the nose, sinuses, ears, throat, lungs, lining of the stomach, or on the skin. In some cases, allergies can trigger asthmatic symptoms. A very small percentage of people may also experience anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction resulting in a range of symptoms including skin rash or hives, throat swelling, and low blood pressure.

When San Diego has Santa Ana wind conditions, we get hit with allergens from as far away as Nevada and Arizona. This increase of allergens in the air can exacerbate nasal allergies and trigger chronic drainage and congestion, leaving allergy sufferers more vulnerable to sinus infections, bronchitis, and colds.


When to See an Allergist

Many allergy sufferers are able to manage their own symptoms with the occasional use of an over-the-counter medication. However, sometimes allergies can interfere with day-to-day activities or decrease one’s quality of life. Seeing an allergist can help you identify which allergens trigger your symptoms and discover the best treatment options for you.

You should consider seeing an allergist if:

  • Your allergies are causing symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, or difficulty breathing.
  • You experience hay fever or other allergy symptoms several months out of the year.
  • Antihistamines and over-the-counter medications do not control your allergy symptoms or they create unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness.
  • Your asthma or allergies are interfering with your ability to carry on day-to-day activities.
  • Your asthma or allergies decrease the quality of your life.
  • You are experiencing warning signs of asthma.


What to Expect at your Appointment

A visit to the allergist might include:

  • Allergy testing. The allergist will usually perform tests to determine what allergens are causing your symptoms.
  • Prevention education. The most effective approach to treating asthma or allergies is to avoid the factors that trigger the condition in the first place. Even when it is not possible to completely avoid allergens, an allergist can help you decrease exposure.
  • Medication prescriptions. A number of new and effective medications are available to treat both asthma and allergies.
  • Immunotherapy. In this treatment, patients are given injections of some or all of the allergens that cause their allergy problems, every week or two. Gradually, the injections get stronger and stronger. In most cases, allergy problems lessen over time.


Don’t Let Allergies Get you Down!

San Diego’s mild seasons and autumnal Santa Ana winds can be a big problem for allergy sufferers. If your fall allergies are getting the better of you, an Allergy and Immunology Specialist can properly diagnose your condition and recommend a management and/or treatment plan to help you live a more comfortable and healthy life.

Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups is your source for San Diego’s most qualified Allergy and Immunology Specialists. For a full list of specialists in your area, please click here.

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