Mar. 7, 2022

Living with Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

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As soon as the temperatures rebound from winter’s freeze, signs of spring start showing. Some people might equate the season with new green sprouts popping up through the grass. Others love to watch flowers blooming creating a canvas of beautiful colors outside. The sounds of baby birds chirping fill the air. But for many of the people who battle allergies, March and the months that follow can usually be described with itchy and watery eyes or a runny nose and nasal congestion.

The constant struggle with allergies can be described as miserable for those who experience the most severe symptoms. Allergies happen when the immune system overreacts to normal things in the environment that are not harmful. Your body doesn’t know that these triggers are nothing to worry about. So, it puts up a strong defense against things as common as pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, or more.

Symptoms from an allergy flair-up can be mild to severe. Although it’s common for some people to experience allergies seasonally, others deal with the inconvenience of allergies all year. They might experience shortness of breath, sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes, itchy nose, itchy ears, and a postnasal drip that can lead to a sore throat. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for someone battling allergies to experience mild fatigue as their body is exposed to the allergy trigger.

A Seasonal Guide to Allergies

Seasonal and year-long allergies might get lumped into one big allergy bucket. But it’s helpful for those battling allergies to understand each season is unique with different allergens that could trigger a flair-up. Also, different regions experience different timelines on when allergens may increase. Consulting information for your area is helpful. You can find a breakdown of allergen counts across the country on Pollen.com with the help of their National Allergy Map.

Here’s a high-level overview of what allergy sufferers can expect to encounter as the seasons change:

Spring: Tree pollen season happens in the spring. The exact timing will vary depending on weather conditions. Because pollen is microscopic, you won’t see it in the air. Allergy sufferers will know it’s here only once the symptoms kick into high gear. Another spring allergen is mold spores, but you can expect the most issues with mold spores in the fall.

Summer: Grass pollen can be expected in the early summer. If you have allergic reactions during this time, you most likely are allergic to this type of pollen. There’s good news though. As the summer becomes hotter, allergies usually die down. That’s because trees and grasses are pollinating less, and mold spore counts die down with less rain.

Fall: As kids head back to school, weed pollination brings the start of allergy season. Ragweed is a common allergen at this time. Plus, mold spore counts rise during the fall when leaves start falling and plants begin dying off.

Winter: While most people will get another break from seasonal allergies in the winter, allergy sufferers who are triggered by mold spores will experience some issues if temperatures warm up temporarily. The flare-ups can be unexpected and out of the blue. Mold grows during above freezing temperatures and in damp areas. So be prepared if you see the weather forecast calling for wet and warmer conditions during the winter.

Tips from Doctors about Allergies

Dr. Shyam Joshi, the medical director of allergy and immunology at Oregon Health & Science University, spoke with the KGW-TV news team in Portland, Oregon to offer up suggestions for controlling pollen exposure. Besides taking over-the-counter medications, allergy sufferers are encouraged to keep the windows closed when entering peak pollen times. That’s good advice for your home and when traveling in the car. If outside, change your clothes to remove pollen residue that might stick to the fabric. Sinus rinse options could help ease congestion in the nasal passages. Air filters used at home can help clean the air of allergens. Using a face mask can cut down on the allergy triggers you may inhale while outside.

Allergies can be a lot to manage on your own. Board-certified allergists can help identify which allergens cause the biggest immune response for your body. This information can allow you to avoid allergy triggers and be proactive about treating your symptoms.

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