What are Spring Allergies?
Pollen is typically in full swing during the spring season. For this reason, the primary cause of spring allergies is pollen. When you're allergic to pollen, your body overreacts to pollen entering your respiratory system and leads to uncomfortable symptoms.
Causes of Spring Allergies
The most common spring allergen is, you guessed it, pollen. Pollen is a fine powdery substance that is produced by plants during their reproductive cycle. The male part of a flower or cone produces the microscopic pollen that is then transported to the female ovule normally by the wind, insects and other animals, or simply gravity.
The type and source of pollen depends on your location. However, pollen is also known to travel up to hundreds of miles by hitching a free ride on the wind. The most common allergy causing pollen sources in the spring include:
If you have allergies, your body will mistakenly recognize the pollen as harmful and release antibodies in attempt to attack it. It releases histamines into your bloodstream that can cause the common allergy symptoms of runny nose and sneezing.
Pollen-related allergies are typically higher on windy days as the pollen is stirred up in the air. Rainy days will usually dampen the pollen, causing it to stick to the ground and other surfaces, reducing the possibility of it entering your respiratory system.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Spring Allergies
Common symptoms of springtime allergies can include the following:
- Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Coughing or sneezing
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Itchy ears or mouth
Visit your ENT specialist if you experience any allergy symptoms for more than one week. Your ENT specialist will typically analyze your symptoms, allergy triggers, and allergy history. They may also perform a test that exposes your skin to different allergens to figure out which substance is causing your allergies. A blood test may also be performed for further analysis.
Treatments for Spring Allergies
Your ENT specialist will recommend treatment based on the specific allergen, the type of reaction you have, and the severity of that reaction. Common treatments for springtime allergies usually include:
- Decongestants or nasal sprays
- Antihistamines or antihistamine/decongestant combinations
- Steroid nasal sprays
- Eye drops