As the weather starts to warm up, it’s exciting to think about the fun memories you will make with your family and friends this summer. But some people dread this time of year because of the allergy symptoms that start to pop up.
It’s beautiful to see the blooming trees and flower buds in the spring. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you will often be dealing with ongoing symptoms during this time of year.
Don’t assume that you can’t go outside this season. Instead, talk to our team of ENT specialists to learn more about seasonal allergies and ways that you can manage the associated symptoms.
Seasonal Allergies: What You Need to Know
When an allergy response is happening in the body, the immune system is overreacting to something you were exposed to.
For example, pollen is in the air because of all the blooming plants. The wind moves this pollen around, and you breathe it in… then an allergy response happens because the body is trying to manage the exposure to this allergy trigger.
You’ll know that your allergies are seasonal because of the timing when the symptoms start to flare up. Pay attention to the time of year. Most people with seasonal allergies find that their symptoms worsen in the spring and summer months.
Most Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
While the exact symptoms and severity vary from one patient to the next, there are common symptoms experienced by patients with seasonal allergies.
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Red, itching, or watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Itching in the nose, mouth, or throat
- Sinus headaches
Sometimes, seasonal allergies start with mild symptoms, then develop into a severe condition when the exposure to the allergens continues
How to Reduce Allergy Trigger Exposure
When your allergy symptoms start to show up during this time of year, one of the best things you can do is minimize your exposure to associated triggers.
- Avoid Windy Days: There is a higher risk of allergen exposure when the wind blows. Stay inside on windy days. If you want to spend time outside, try going out after a rainstorm since the rain helps to clear the air.
- Yard Care: Keep in mind that certain yard care activities can increase symptoms. So, don’t mow the lawn, pull weeds, or spend too much time in the garden when experiencing a lot of symptoms.
- Clean Clothing: If you have been spending time outside, allergens and pollen can collect on your clothing. Change your clothes when you go inside, and take a shower to rinse the pollen out of your hair and skin.
- Invest in Home Filtration: Not only can you use allergen-reducing filters in your HVAC system, but it can also be helpful to use smaller home filters. Make sure to always sleep with the filter running in your bedroom.
Reducing allergen exposure is a preventive strategy to minimize current symptoms and reduce the risk of symptoms in the future. But sometimes, the preventive steps aren’t enough. If you are still experiencing seasonal allergies, consider talking to an ENT doctor for treatment recommendations.
Medical Treatments for Seasonal Allergies
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for seasonal allergies. But there are things that you can do to manage the symptoms and find relief from your sneezing, coughing, and congestion.
Often, patients start with over-the-counter treatments before meeting with an allergy specialist.
- Antihistamines: Oral pills can be taken to reduce the histamine responses in the body. An antihistamine will relieve common seasonal allergy symptoms such as congestion, watering eyes, itching, and sneezing.
- Decongestants: Other over-the-counter medications for seasonal allergies have ingredients that are oral decongestants. Or, you might be able to use a combination with one medication that includes both antihistamines and decongestants in one pill.
- Nasal Rinses: Sometimes, rinsing the nasal passages can be a great way to open the sinuses and clear congestion. For example, these nasal rinses can clear allergens (such as pollen) out of the nasal passages, naturally reducing the associated symptoms. Common methods for nasal rinses include saline sprays or using a neti pot with a saline solution.
- Corticosteroid Nasal Spray: Another type of nasal spray includes small doses of steroids, which help to target the inflammation in the sinuses and nasal passages. These nasal sprays can provide immediate relief, but they shouldn’t be used on an ongoing basis.
If these home remedies aren’t enough, then it’s time to schedule a consultation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Not only can the doctor identify your allergy trigger, but they can also offer treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
- Blood Testing: The first step for adequate medical care is to find the underlying triggers. Often, these allergy tests are completed using blood tests.
- Allergy Shots: Immunotherapy can be an excellent solution for people with seasonal allergies. These allergy shots have a desensitization effect because they contain a small amount of your allergy triggers. As a result, the injections reduce the immune reaction over time.
- Prescription Medications: A stronger prescription might be necessary when over-the-counter medications aren’t enough. Your doctor can help you identify the ideal medication and proper dosages to optimize your results.
Occasionally, other treatments are necessary for related conditions. For example, your nasal congestion might worsen because of a physical obstruction (such as polyps or a deviated septum).
So, there are times when it is helpful to use surgical treatment to correct these physical obstructions. Then, seasonal allergy treatments are more effective because the upper respiratory system is working and draining properly – helping you avoid allergy complications such as recurring sinus infections.
Preventing Seasonal Allergies
Instead of waiting for the symptoms to be severe, it makes sense to take a proactive approach if you know you are prone to seasonal allergies.
For example, some patients start taking antihistamines at the earliest signs of symptoms. Then, it’s easier to stay ahead of the allergies and minimize severe symptoms later in the season.
Talk to an ENT About Allergy Treatments
You don’t have to suffer for months with seasonal allergies. If you are tired of living with these symptoms, it’s time to contact an ENT specialist for more information.
We offer personalized support and ongoing care to help you live your best life possible. We invite you to schedule an appointment with an experienced ENT in the Collin County and Dallas areas. Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is just a phone call away, and we have a couple of offices in Plano and Frisco, TX. Use our online form to request an appointment, or call: (972) 596-4005.