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Spring and Summer Allergies


​​​​​​​​​​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

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

Allergy vs. Cold: How do you know?

How can you tell if it is allergy symptoms vs. cold or flu? The symptoms associated with allergies and colds are often very similar. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days, you may be experiencing symptoms of an allergy.

What Causes an Allergic Reaction?

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.

How to Treat Spring and Summer Allergies

The best defense against allergies is to avoid the allergen. Because it is not always possible to stay indoors, Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 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 and its symptoms, over-the-counter medications may help provide some relief. 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.

  • Spring and Summer Allergies

    It's warmer and sunnier and winter is behind you. There is 20% of the population who doesn’t like it because they have to worry about if they can go outside, could they open their windows, could they go to a softball game without coming home miserable. Those are the issues that people with springtime allergies face.

    How do allergies develop?

    There are two criteria to develop allergies. You have to have a genetic predisposition and then you have to have an adequate exposure. If it’s a pet allergy, or a dust mite allergy, or a mold allergy, then these are present only when around. Those are the things that younger kids will get sensitized to. If it’s pollen sensitivity you need at least a three year exposure and most pollen will bloom six to twelve weeks of the year.

    What are the common signs and symptoms of allergies?

    Itchy eyes, runny nose, itching on the roof of the mouth, children are rubbing their noses all the time, they are sneezing. Patients have described this to me over the years in different ways. There are people who will say “I sound like an old person. I’m sneezing away. I come home congested. I look like I’ve been to a bar and I didn’t do anything.” So that’s what happens. Then ​they get this runny nose. Then they get congested and have a sensation of pressure in the sinuses. They have difficulty sleeping. They will often start coughing.

    What are the common allergens in the spring and summer?

    Well you start with the tree pollen season. Then you have the grasses to deal with and they tend to start blooming end of April and the first part of May and they go on until the end of June and sometimes the end of July and early August. What can be done to help avoid the allergens? If you know you have allergies try to keep the environment under control. Keep your doors and windows closed. Run the air conditioner. Make sure the furnace filters are cleaned out. Also, try to find out what you are allergic to. Don’t go out during really windy days because the wind can carry pollen from miles away. Find out what you are allergic to. Find out what your enemies are and what your strong points and weak points are and then you adjust your activities with that.

    What are the treatment options for allergies?

    It is a graduation of medications essentially. Start with really simple and keep adding to it and determine if it is adequate or if it compromises your lifestyle and if the side effects of the medication are not something you want to deal with then we go to immunotherapy.

    When should someone seek help from an allergist?

    I think they could try some of these medications advertised on TV like Zyrtec and Claritin and Allegra. They could try that and see how they respond. If they don’t respond and are still miserable they should consult their primary care physician and if that doesn’t work then they should see us.