Seasonal allergies occur when changes in the environment cause more allergens to become airborne. While there are different allergy “seasons” throughout the year, springtime, with the blooming of all types of plants, is notorious for bringing on intense symptoms. Here are some of the common – and slightly less common – spring allergy symptoms and some tips on how to treat them.
Spring Allergy Symptoms
People who have spring allergies are very familiar with the standard symptoms, which include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose and eyes
However, the body’s reaction to pollen released by trees, grasses, weeds and other airborne irritants can also cause:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Sinus infections
- Poor sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
Because these symptoms can have a variety of other origins, it is important to note the timing of their onset. If you begin to notice them around the same time that you develop standard allergy symptoms, that information can be helpful to your healthcare provider as they look to determine the cause and prescribe a treatment.
Spring Allergy Treatment
Here are some steps you can take to help minimize your allergy symptoms this spring or during any allergy season:
- Stay inside as much as possible when the pollen count is high
- If you spend time outdoors, change your clothes and wash your hair upon returning home
- Keep windows and doors shut
- Vacuum frequently, wearing a mask if needed as vacuuming can kick up allergens
- Use an air purifier
- Clean or replace HVAC filters more frequently than manufacturer recommendations
- Use over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication as directed
- Consider immunotherapy through allergy shots if your symptoms are especially severe or bothersome
About Spring Allergies
As you strive to fend off allergy symptoms, knowledge may be your best defense. For example, if you take allergy medication, allergists advise starting your regimen a few weeks before your symptoms typically begin for best results. In the spring and summer, grass and tree pollens — the primary culprits — tend to be at their highest levels in the evening; so it is best to be inside late in the day.
It’s also worth noting that a mild winter can cause some trees to release pollen early. This can produce what’s called the “priming effect,” where allergy symptoms worsen with longer exposure to allergens. If you hear local weather forecasters talking about a tame winter and early spring, you may want to take extra steps to protect yourself.
Spring allergies, and the wide range of symptoms they produce, are no fun. But with proper preparation and an active approach to managing them, you can keep them from making you miserable.