The Different Seasonal Allergies

Warmer weather is on the horizon, which means blooming flowers, trees, and grasses. But if you one of the many people that suffer from seasonal allergies, this time of year can be difficult.

The culprit is Pollen. When you breathe in pollen, your body mistakes it as something dangerous and, therefore, attacks it. Symptoms that may occur:

  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Headaches
  • Facial pressure/pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Ear Infections
  • Sore Throat

The Different Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can be diagnosed based on when symptoms develop. A skin test or allergen-specific blood test can help confirm this.

  • Tree pollen (birches, oaks, elms, and maples) typically appears in the spring.
  • Grass pollen in late spring and summer.
  • Ragweed produces pollen in the fall.
  • Mold spores often cause seasonal allergies during the spring, summer, and fall. They may also cause year-round allergies for people who live in buildings with too much moisture.

Symptom Management

  • Stay indoors as much as possible on days with peak pollen counts.
  • Save outdoor activities for late afternoon.
  • Wear a face mask when you work outdoors.
  • Close the windows and, if needed, use an air conditioner.
  • Keep the grass cut short and avoid gardening chores that may stir up allergens.
  • Rinse off after being outside to remove pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Brush off your pets after they’ve been outside to prevent allergens from coming inside with them.

If your symptoms do not respond to over-the-counter treatment or your symptoms get worse, it may be time to visit a health care provider. They may suggest using a saline rinse for nasal congestion, antihistamines for a runny nose and itchy eyes, or decongestants to reduce swelling and sinus discomfort. For more severe cases, the use of immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be prescribed. The goal here is to build a tolerance to allergens, so your body no longer reacts to them.

Seasonal allergies can be a pain and, when severe, can impact your ability to enjoy life. If you have questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.

John McGath, MD
DRH Allergy, Ear, Nose and Throat

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