Controlling Spring and Summer Allergies

 

Kevin R. Murphy, M.D.
Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Pediatric Pulmonology

The freshly mowed grass and hand-cut flowers often aren’t only a sight to see, but an eye sore if you have summer allergies.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is caused by outdoor allergens. It is more prevalent in the spring and summer months due to heavier pollen counts. The symptoms of spring allergies are similar to a cold virus; however, if your cold symptoms do not improve within 10 days, you may consider checking with your physician about a possible Spring allergy. Common signs and symptoms of allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

When the body comes in contact with a bacteria or virus, the body reacts, trying to override the harmful intruder. When someone who is allergic to pollen comes in contact with the outdoor allergen, the body tries to attack by producing histamine and other allergic mediators. This attack is called an allergic reaction.

The best defense against allergies is to avoid the allergen. Because it is not always possible to stay indoors, Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Pediatric Pulmonology recommends:

  • Keeping windows shut as much as possible, especially on dry, windy days, or when the pollen count is high.
  • Driving with the windows closed and the air conditioning on.
  • Allergy-proofing your yard by eliminating offending plants, and staying off freshly mowed lawns.
  • Keeping pets (they can track pollen inside) outside. If that is not possible, at least keep them out of your bedroom.
  • Changing your clothing after playing/working outside.
  • Showering or at least washing hands after being outside.
  • Drying clothing with a vented dryer, NOT on a clothesline outside.

Depending on the severity of the allergy, over-the-counter medications may help relieve some symptoms. If the symptoms become worse or bothersome, your primary physician or an allergy physician may prescribe oral medications, nasal sprays or allergy shots. Always consult with your physician before you begin a medication. If you have questions or concerns about Spring allergies, contact your primary physician.