March 2, 2021

Spring Allergies: A Survival Guide

When we think of spring, we think of outdoor activities, sports, flowers blooming, nice weather. But the term “spring allergies” can be slightly misleading, as spring allergies can start to show up on pollen counts as early as February! So now is the perfect time to start preparing for one of the most loved and dreaded time of the year!

It’s important to get ahead of your allergies so you remain in control, and not the other way around. If you wait until allergy season hits, pollen will be everywhere, and your seasonal allergy symptoms of ongoing itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose will be well underway when you try to schedule an appointment.  And the longer you wait, the longer it may take to get in for an appointment. Sometimes allergy symptoms can even lead to sinus infections, which means antibiotics. Experts and research have shown that being proactive in the assessment and management of allergies leads to better outcomes for patients compared to playing catch up once allergies have begun.

Common spring allergy triggers

The main allergies in the spring are trees followed by grass pollen and mold spores. While you might find yourself past the dread mountain cedar that goes from December through February, all other trees and and grass begin to pollinate as early as February and peak in March to April. Further, rainy weather can increase mold counts. Dust mites and animal dander also play a role as year-round allergens. In a survey of homes, approximately one out of four homes had levels of dust mite allergens present at a level high enough to trigger asthma symptoms.  

While over the counter treatments like antihistamines and nasal sprays can provide relief, the best way to identify your allergy triggers and find a long-term solution is by getting an allergy test. Second, allergy medications only treat the allergy symptoms and do not address what your body is doing on the inside when it sees these pollens. Allergies occur when your immune system recognizes the pollen and gets overstimulated resulting in the release of all those itchy, scratchy, snotty chemicals causing your symptoms. Allergists view the management of allergies in three ways: minimizing or avoiding the allergy, medications, and finally immunotherapy which is a fancy word for allergy shots or allergy drops.

Tips for managing spring allergies

There are enough things to worry about in life, allergies shouldn’t be one of them. You deserve to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, not hide indoors from it being miserable. Here are a few ways to combat those spring allergies:

  • Find out what you’re allergic to. If you don’t know what you’re allergic to, you’ll never truly know your triggers and how to find a long-term solution. Get an allergy test at an Aspire location near you.
  • Keep windows closed when possible: Closing windows can help keep pollen out, but who wants to do this forever? We all love a nice spring breeze in the home! This is a short-term solution to keep pollen out of the home on windy days
  • Stay on top of lawn care: Cut your grass on a regular schedule to prevent it from getting too long, increasing pollen levels. Wear a mask while mowing the lawn or better yet, have someone else do it!
  • Sunglasses can help: Sunglasses or any protective eyewear can help keep pollen out of your eyes when doing lawn care, or any outdoor activity. Try to keep a few pairs handy for easy access.  
  • Shower at night: Rinsing off at nighttime can prevent pollen from getting into the sheets and on your pillow.
  • Remove shoes and change clothes when coming inside: be careful not to drag pollen through the house after coming inside. Removing shoes and changing clothes can greatly improve allergy symptoms in the home.
  • Nasal Rinses: Clear your nasal passages with a salt water when you are experiencing nasal congestion due to allergies.
  • Change filters regularly: The air filters inside the home can harbor all kinds of dust and allergenic particles. It’s best to change filters at least quarterly, more often if you have pets.
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule: It’s a good best practice to clean floors weekly and deep clean at least once a quarter. Don’t forget to vacuum furniture, wash bedding and curtains, as well as dust the window blinds! You’ll also want to regularly check for mold in the bathrooms.
  • Know the pollen counts: Use a local or national app to track pollen counts in your area. Know when they are high and plan activities around it. www.pollen.com is a great, free site to find out the allergies in your area.
  • Find an allergy treatment option that works for you: there are many small things you can do at home to alleviate your allergies, but if you have suffered for many seasons and continue to live a compromised life due to allergies, it’s time to find along-term solution.

If you don’t have a management plan for spring allergies, see an allergist or allergy specialist. These specialists can help you identify what exactly you’re allergic to and assist with creating a plan of action to finally solve the problem, rather than just masking the symptoms.

At Aspire Allergy & Sinus we have several treatment options to meet your needs, lifestyle, and budget. From allergy drops that can be taken at home, to ExACT Immunoplasty that will give you relief in just three injections, to the tried and true allergy shots, we have a solution that will help you say goodbye to allergies, for good!

Book your appointment with one of our allergy specialists, today!

About The Author:

Kirk Waibel, MD

Dr. Kirk Waibel is Board Certified in Allergy & Immunology and joins the Aspire Allergy & Sinus team after serving 22 years in the United States Army, most recently as the Chief of the Allergy Service at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Allergy Consultant to the Army Surgeon General. He is also the only allergist who is trained and administering the ExACT Immunoplasty℠ procedure, and one of the few offering OIT in San Antonio.