Spring has Sprung!
And if you are like me, so have seasonal allergies.
Spring is a wonderful time of year. It brings fresh air, blooming flowers, and some much-needed warm sunshine! But for many people, it also triggers seasonal allergies. Symptoms can range from mild to more extreme and can make springtime unenjoyable. But luckily, there are steps you can take to help relieve your symptoms and enjoy your spring. Through research and my own personal experience with seasonal and year-round allergies I have learned a lot. So, I’ve put together the most helpful information I have found on allergies and how to manage the symptoms!
Causes of Seasonal Allergies
So why do allergy symptoms get so bad in the springtime anyways? While allergies differ person to person, there are a few common allergens that show up in the spring that a lot of people react to. One of the main causes of spring allergies is pollen. In fact, pollen is one of the most common allergens across the United States! And while pollen makes our earth beautiful, it can wreak havoc on allergies. In the spring, trees and grass begin pollinating in preparation for the coming summer, meaning the pollen count becomes very high and, you guessed it, allergy symptoms get worse. Another common allergen that shows up in the spring is mold. The warmer weather and increased humidity help mold thrive during spring months.
While these are two of the more common allergens, there are plenty of others that can contribute to your allergy symptoms. Other allergens like dust and dander can become stronger in the spring as well.
This combination of mold, pollen, and other triggers can lead to unbearable symptoms! But what do seasonal allergies actually feel like?
There are a few common symptoms that point to seasonal allergies. Some of the most typical ones include:
- Runny Nose
- Itchy Eyes
- Shortness of Breath
You may experience just one or a combination of several symptoms from the list above. It is important to remember that allergies cause different reactions in everyone, so you could experience a variety of symptoms not included in this list. Allergies can often feel like a common cold, so be sure to pay attention to your body to better understand the cause of the symptoms. Of course, the best way to understand your symptoms is to speak with your doctor or an allergist!
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “This sucks! How am I supposed to survive this spring?!” But don’t worry, there is plenty you can do to fight back against seasonal allergies!
Tips to Fight Allergies
Allergies can really bring you down in the spring months, but there are steps you can take to fight them and make the most of your spring!
The first step is to look into over-the-counter medications. Experts recommend that you start treating your allergies at least two weeks before you expect symptoms to start. This will help prepare your body and make the medication the most effective. Stock up on your favorite allergy medication and be sure to take it regularly throughout the allergy season. Missing doses or taking it irregularly makes the medication so much less effective! Not sure which medication is right for you? Consult your doctor or pharmacist and they can give you recommendations based on your symptoms. It is also a good idea to keep nasal spray and eye drops on hand to treat more stubborn symptoms. I have also found that using an eye wash cup to rinse your eyes regularly can be a huge help! Washing your eyes daily helps remove allergens and relieve itchy, irritated eyes.
There are also several actions you can take to help keep your allergy symptoms at bay. Keep an eye on pollen counts in your area; somedays the pollen count will be higher than other days, making your symptoms worse. When the pollen count is high, keep windows and doors closed and clean your house or apartment often to reduce exposure to allergens like pollen and mold. Wind can also stir up allergens, making your symptoms worse, so avoid spending time outdoors on windy days. Pro tip: right after a heavy rain is a great time to get outside since pollen has been temporarily washed away!
But the most important thing you can do is track your symptoms and how you respond to different treatments. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to switch it up! Like I said before, allergies are different for everyone which means the right treatment for me might not be the right treatment for you.
If you feel like nothing is helping your symptoms, don’t give up! Schedule an appointment with an allergist and they can help you find out what you might be allergic to and offer treatment plans specific to you.
Don’t let spring allergens ruin the upcoming months for you! Paying attention to your symptoms and figuring out a treatment that works for you can make a huge difference! So get out there and take control of your allergies this spring!
Thanks for reading and Happy Spring!
“Seasonal Allergies: Nip Them in the Bud.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 May 2018
“Seasonal Allergies.” ACAAI Public Website, 29 Oct. 2018