Spring has sprung, with many outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the blooms and flowering trees that mark the season. For allergy sufferers, though, spring allergies can mean weeks of sniffling and sneezing and what can feel like no relief in sight.
Whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are expected, or you’re worried your symptoms could be something else, it’s important to have a broad understanding of the causes and symptoms of spring allergies and when to see a healthcare provider.
Causes of Spring Allergies
Spring (and early summer) allergies can have several triggers. The most common is pollen, as grasses, flowers, and trees bloom and enter our breathing space. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the result, causing millions to sneeze and sniffle through those early spring months, often for weeks at a time.
Spring Allergy Symptoms
There are some similarities between spring allergy symptoms vs. other common conditions like a cold. Both will likely present with a stuffy, runny nose and frequent sneezing. Coughing, a sore throat, and fatigue are additional frequent symptoms with the common cold but less prevalent with seasonal allergies.
Most allergy sufferers also report the following effects from spring allergies:
- Symptoms are seasonal, presenting around the same time each year.
- Itchy, watery eyes can result in redness and swelling with too much rubbing.
- Symptoms worsen with exposure to identified irritants or allergens.
As we are still actively testing individuals for COVID-19, it’s also important that patients understand the difference between COVID and allergies, as well.
The main difference between COVID and allergies is that any symptoms will generally be more severe with COVID than those experienced by allergy season sufferers. COVID-19 patients report fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and nausea that are not connected to spring allergies. Some patients with COVID experience a loss of taste or smell, a symptom not typically reported with allergies.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing acute flu-like symptoms or shortness of breath, contact a medical professional immediately. Even if symptoms are not severe, you should be tested to prevent possible transmission to others if you are positive.
How Long Do Seasonal Allergies Last?
If spring allergies are the culprit behind your allergy symptoms, most patients report some easing of symptoms within 2-3 weeks. However, those with multiple allergies may experience symptoms as long as allergens are present in the air. Pollen can still be a problem in the summer months due to an increase in molds and dust mites that can affect many with allergies.
Prevention Tips for Spring Allergies
To prevent the worst effects of seasonal allergies, there are a few things you can do to:
- Reduce your exposure to allergens. If you’ve been dealing with allergies for a while, you likely know the blooming plants that will cause you the most distress. Stay inside on days you know will be bad for your allergies, like dry, windy days that can blow more pollen through the air.
- Wear a pollen mask to prevent inhalation of the bulk of allergens if you have to be outside for an extended period. Your gardening project may need to be postponed on days where pollen levels are highest, though, even if you wear a mask.
- That said, pay attention to pollen counts. There are online tools available that measure pollen counts and allergy outlooks by region. Typically, pollen counts are the worst early in the morning.
- Use air filters and dehumidifiers in your home to reduce allergens inside. If you find that you suffer from frequent symptoms in the house, use HEPA filters with your vacuum when you clean.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies
If you’re already suffering from the symptoms of seasonal allergies, several tested methods will relieve those symptoms and make you feel a bit better. Talking to a medical professional like the urgent care providers at Reliant is a great step in identifying how to treat seasonal allergies, which treatment plan will suit you best, and any potential side effects associated with even over-the-counter medications.
Treatments for spring allergies include the following:
- Find an over-the-counter medication that works for you. Antihistamines and decongestants have been proven effective in reducing the amount of congestion you’re experiencing with your spring allergies. Eye drops may also be effective for itchy, watery eyes.
- Treat your sinuses. Nasal sprays and neti pots are also used to treat congestion. Nasal rinses using saline solutions may be beneficial in clearing out allergens breathed in through the nose.
- Combine treatments. Some popular allergy medications combine antihistamines and decongestants into one treatment, hitting the effects of both the sneezing, sniffling, itching, and stuffiness you’re likely feeling in your nose.
- Talk to a medical provider. Sometimes over-the-counter treatments just aren’t enough. A healthcare provider will be able to provide additional recommendations to ease your symptoms, such as prescription medications, allergy shots, and steroid nasal sprays, or even identify allergens causing your seasonal allergy symptoms.
Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?
Whether you’re new to the world of spring allergies or have been dealing with seasonal symptoms for years, the experts at Reliant are here to handle your care. Schedule a virtual allergy appointment in Los Angeles, and we’ll connect you with a medical provider to get you on the right path toward relief and answer any questions you may have about spring allergies.
Book your appointment today for convenient treatment and medical attention that will help you start feeling better fast.