Primary Care Services

Brace Yourself: Seasonal Allergies are Blossoming

Misery: That’s what spring means for allergy sufferers.

While most of us enjoy the sight of fresh green foliage on trees and early blooms in the garden, some of us are struggling with rhinitis (best known as hay fever), which brings the unpleasantness of a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip. Add watery, reddened, itchy eyes, and those who have allergies can be thoroughly unenthused about the glories of spring.

Summer and early fall bring their own set of problems for allergy suffers. Seasonal allergies generally are triggered by sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from trees and grasses (heaviest in May and June) or weeds (most potent in June and July). Ragweed often is the culprit in autumn.

Family in a field

Allergy Medication Can Help

People who suffer from allergies reach for medicines for relief.

Antihistamines calm hay fever, while decongestants are used to treat stuffiness in the nose and other symptoms linked to allergies.

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work speedily and last for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days unless advised to by your allergist. Prolonged use can cause rebound swelling of the nasal tissue.  

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will help counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus, and can be used as often as needed.

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Make Your Environment Less Irritating

Completely eliminating allergy triggers is impossible, but here are some tips to help limit your exposure:

  • Choose vacuums and air conditioners with a HEPA filter to remove pollen particles from your home.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed, especially at night.
  • Try to avoid going outdoors when pollen counts are at their peak, or when breezes are blowing pollen around.
  • Take appropriate medication before mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and wear a mask while doing these chores. Changing your clothes and taking a shower when you come indoors may also help rid you of any pollen you may have picked up.
  • You may like to dry laundry on the line for the freshness imparted by the breeze and sun. But if you’re allergic, it’s a bad idea, since that breeze can carry pollen and mold spores and deposit them on your clean laundry.

Learn More About Allergies and Get Help