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Spring Allergies: What to Expect and How to Reduce Symptoms

Connie PhamAs the days grow longer and the flowers start to bloom, we all know spring is in the air. However, there is one other sign of the seasons changing you may also have noticed — and aren't too thrilled about — spring allergies. In some areas of the United States, allergy season can begin in February and last until early summer, picking back up in the fall.

With spring allergies, pesky symptoms like sneezing, congestion, itching, or irritated eyes can severely impact our quality of life. Your primary care doctor or advanced practice provider (APP)* understands the challenges your allergies can pose and will help you prepare for spring allergy season. Building a trusting relationship with them will allow you to have a personalized care plan.

What to Expect

Around 67 million U.S. adults and 14 million children suffer from seasonal allergies according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Those of us with an allergy have an overactive immune system which is triggered by an allergen that causes an allergic reaction.

Some of the most common spring allergens are: 

  • Grass 
  • Weeds 
  • Tree pollen  
  • Outdoor mold 

As the tiny particles from these items make their way into the air you breathe, they can irritate your lungs and airways. Common allergy symptoms are sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and fatigue.  

People with allergies can have different responses, which is why it is important to understand what impacts you or your loved one to prevent and manage allergy symptoms. Your primary care doctor or APP can work with you to understand your allergy history, identify your body’s specific triggers, and create a plan to help you navigate allergy season. Remember, regular medical check-ins will allow for adjustments to your treatment plan based on the evolving nature of your allergies. 

How to Reduce Symptoms: 

Managing your spring allergies involves a combination of preventative measures and targeted treatments. Here are some tips to help you reduce symptoms. 

Watch Out for Pollen Levels.
  • Keep an eye on local pollen counts. On days with high pollen counts, consider adjusting your outdoor activities, such as wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes. Showering and washing your hair after being outside can wash away any allergens you may have collected. 
Allergy-Proof Your Home.
  • Keep your windows closed.  
  • Use an air purifier. 
  • Change your air filters regularly.
  • Clean surfaces to minimize allergen exposure.
  • Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week. 
  • Wash and brush pets that have been outside a lot. 
Take Medications as Prescribed.
  • Whether it's over-the-counter antihistamines or prescription medications, sticking with your treatment plan is key to reducing your allergy symptoms. 
  • Most allergy medications work best if taken daily and at least two weeks before allergy season starts to help your body prepare for the allergens ahead of time. 
Explore Alternative Treatments.
  • For people with persistent and severe allergies, allergen immunotherapy may be right for them. This treatment, also known as allergy shots, can desensitize your immune system to specific allergens over time. Your doctor or APP can refer you to an allergist who will be able to explore this treatment option.  

Speak with your primary care doctor or APP about how to make your home an allergy-friendly space and discuss which medications are right for you based on your symptoms and medical history. Don’t let spring allergies prevent you from enjoying the beauty of the season. Get ahead by making an appointment with your primary care doctor or APP today! 

*An advanced practice provider is defined as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. 

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