With the 70 degree weather we have had lately, you may think we are already in spring! We are all looking forward to warmer weather but with that comes allergy season. Millions of people experience year-round symptoms, regardless of when pollen season starts and ends.
In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. The main culprit for your allergy symptoms in the spring is trees and the high amount of pollen they product. Pollen is a fine powdery substance, typically yellow, that consists of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower or from a male cone.
Tree pollination begins early in the year and is followed by grass pollination later in the spring and summer and ragweed in the late summer and fall, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Timing and severity of allergy season can vary across the country. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, climate factors that can influence allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Cool nights and warm days (Tree, grass, and ragweed pollens thrive in these conditions!)
- High humidity and warm temperatures (A combination that allows mold to grow quickly.)
- Warm, windy days (Creating opportunities for pollen counts to surge.)
Don’t pack your bags for a new locale just yet, though! Allergens are present in nearly every community, so a new address isn’t a surefire solution to allergy woes.
There are a variety of symptoms associated with seasonal allergies including a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark circles under the eyes.
While there is no “cure”, you can take steps to curb springtime allergies, from medication to household habits.
Seasonal Allergy Management and Treatment
The best way to start managing your symptoms is to know what triggers your allergies. Pollen could be the main thing you are suffering from, but there may be other things involved as well. For the worst cases, an allergist can help you find the source of your suffering and make suggestions to minimize your symptoms.
Once you find out what your triggers are, it may be time to start one or more medications. This can range from over the counter drugs, such as oral antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl) and nasal decongestants (Afrin Nasal Spray, Sudafed), to those that require a prescription.
If you have a history of prior seasonal problems, allergists recommend starting medications to alleviate symptoms two weeks before they are expected to begin.
You should also keep an eye on your local allergy tracker. These types of tools can give you an idea of how things will be for the next seven days.