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Preventing and Treating Seasonal Allergies

Preventing and Treating Seasonal Allergies

This time of year can be hard on your sinuses. With spring comes blooming flowers and trees, which can, unfortunately, re-awaken your allergies causing you to sneeze, cough, have a runny nose and watery eyes, and more. For the more than 50 million Americans who experience allergies each year, the season can quickly become miserable. So how can you enjoy spring without having to keep a box of tissues with you everywhere you go?

What Causes Allergies?

In the spring, the most common cause of allergies is pollen. Pollen is an airborne allergen that is dispersed from flowering plants, trees, grass, and weeds. Ongoing climate changes have resulted in higher pollen concentrations in the air and exposure can trigger various allergic reactions, including symptoms of hay fever. This is where your immune system mistakenly identifies allergens like pollen as a threat, causing your body to release chemicals that try to get rid of the allergen. 

Dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and insect stings can also cause seasonal allergies.

Know Your Allergies

Before you can appropriately treat or prevent symptoms of allergies, you first need to know what you’re allergic to. A simple blood test or skin test can help. A skin prick test or puncture test will check for immediate allergic reactions to as many as 50 substances at once. Identification of these allergies is an important step in developing an effective treatment plan.

Is It Allergies or Something Else?

Allergies and the common cold share similar symptoms but are quite different. Common colds are caused by viruses, whereas allergies are an immune system response to allergens. Common signs of allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • Circles under eyes
  • Itchy mouth, nose, or throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Temporary loss of smell
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • Tiredness
  • Congestion
  • Scratchy throat
  • Dry cough

If you seem to get a ‘cold’ around the same time each year, it may be seasonal allergies. The only way to be sure is to get tested by your doctor so you can be treated and find the relief you need.

Reduce Your Exposure

Once you know what you’re allergic to, it becomes important to monitor symptoms and be mindful of what triggers those symptoms. As an example, you can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

  • Staying inside on dry and windy days
  • Saving lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other gardening chores for after it rains, which helps clear pollen from the air
  • Changing your clothes after you’ve been outside
  • Rinsing your skin and hair after being outside
  • Not hanging laundry outdoors
  • Wearing a pollen mask or N95 mask when doing outside chores
  • Keeping windows and doors closed


There are several ways to help treat allergies. Most people will turn to over the counter, nonprescription medications to find the relief needed to get through the day. These include:

  • Antihistamines that help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose, and watery eyes
  • Decongestants provide relief from nasal stuffiness and congestion
  • Nasal spray can be effective in stopping allergy symptoms before they begin
  • Combination medicines combine an antihistamine with a decongestant, helping relieve a broader range of symptoms

Rinsing your sinuses with saline solution is a quick, easy, and effective approach to help relieve nasal congestion and irritation from the allergens in your nasal passages. You can also use a squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or neti pot (found at your local pharmacy). With your head tilted to one side, pour distilled or sterile water into your nostril. The solution should pour out the opposite nostril, clearing your sinuses.

While trying to avoid allergens and using home remedies can work for some, professional treatment for your allergies will always be the best option. Frederick Health Ear, Nose & Throat Care provides a full range of ear, nose, throat, and sinus services and treatments for patients of all ages. Our specialists provide a personalized treatment plan that will help give you lasting relief from allergy symptoms.

To learn more about our ENT services, visit our website or call 301-695-3100.