5 Ways to Cope With Spring Pollen Allergies

Spring pollen from trees and grasses can cause allergy symptoms within the nose, sinus and lung areas. Here are five methods to cope with high pollen counts and allergies as spring arrives.

1. Recognize and Address Symptoms of Pollen Allergies

Allergy symptoms to pollen often mimic other illnesses, especially the common cold. Several symptoms that distinguish pollen allergies from the common cold are itching of the eyes, throat, nose, and skin. Most colds and flu are associated with a fever and muscle/body/joint achiness. Additional symptoms of tree and grass pollen allergies include the following:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Reddened eyes

Allergy sufferers may have a decrease in their appetite secondary to an inability to smell or taste foods. They may feel fatigued or anxious. Individuals with asthma may have more wheezing and shortness of breath, when pollen counts are high.

Tracking the symptoms of pollen allergies early, will result in quicker relief. For example, over-the-counter Antihistamines, intranasal steroid sprays, and eye drops can be very effective in treating the allergy symptoms.

2. Understand That Anyone Can Develop Allergies

Allergies develop in people of all ages. Grass and tree pollen allergies can be present in childhood and then subside. Pollen-related allergies can also suddenly plague adults who’ve never experienced allergy symptoms before.

If you’re an adult who barely ever sniffles, but you suddenly have a runny nose, watery eyes, and a sneezing condition that won’t quit, suspect that allergies have finally caught up with you.

3. Undergo Testing to Pinpoint Allergy Triggers

An allergist is your best ally to defeat springtime allergy symptoms. The allergist can test you for a variety of allergen triggers to determine exactly which plant pollens are affecting your system.

The most common pollen-type allergens are those from plants that rely on wind pollination. Plants that are wind-pollinated release mass quantities of tiny, lightweight grains that will hopefully be carried by the breeze to female flowers.

Showy, colorful plants are rarely the allergy-causing culprits, since bright ornamental flowers are mostly pollinated by insects.

Tree species with pollen that can cause allergies include the following:

  • Maple
  • Willow
  • Poplar
  • Elm
  • Birch
  • Mulberry
  • Oak

The flowers on these trees are tiny, but they can pack an allergic punch. Most trees release their pollen from March to May.

Grasses release pollen throughout summer. Allergy-triggering grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, orchard grass and timothy grass.

4. Limit Exposure to Primary Allergens

Once you know which plant pollens are triggering your allergies, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to the troublesome material. Keep track of local pollen counts so you can stay indoors on heavy pollen days. Keep windows closed during peak pollen times, and use extra filtration if possible on your HVAC system.

Change out of dirty clothes whenever you come indoors from outside. Place dirty clothes in the laundry as soon as possible. Shower and wash your hair before bed each night to remove pollen from your hair and body.

Limit your exposure to animals and to mowing, raking, and other outdoor chores. Wear an allergy mask if you must be outdoors for prolonged periods. Wash your bedding well at least once per week.

5. Schedule Allergy-Related Immunotherapy

Over-the-counter and prescription drugs only mask allergy symptoms. To eliminate your allergy problems related to plant pollen allergies, allergy immunotherapy is the most effective treatment option.

Immunotherapy treatment isn’t a quick fix but a long-term process to prevent and limit the extent of allergy symptoms in patients. Immunotherapy treatments modify how your body reacts to allergens and lessens the severity of your allergy symptoms. Grass and tree pollen allergies can be successfully treated with immunotherapy that involves allergy shots or allergy tablets.

Relief can be felt within one year of treatment. Also called subcutaneous immunotherapy, allergy-shot treatment involves injections of allergens known to trigger symptoms. The allergist gradually increases the dosages of allergens over time as your body becomes accustomed to them.

If pollen-related allergy symptoms are adversely affecting your productivity and your quality of life, immunotherapy may be a reasonable solution to help you regain your energy and enjoyment of everyday activities.

Schedule allergy testing in Naperville, Plainfield, Downers Grove, or Elmhurst, Illinois, by contacting Oak Brook Allergists. Our board-certified allergists offer grass and tree pollen testing and immunotherapy treatment in our four modern, convenient office locations.

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