Spring is Here! Time for Sunshine, Warmth – and Allergies!

Woman with AllergiesThe frigid days of winter are finally behind us. Now, we can enjoy all the benefits of spring that we’ve been longing for during these last few bone-chilling months.

Sunshine! Warmth!


Oh, yeah, that’s right. Seasonal springtime allergies are here. If you don’t suffer from allergies or don’t know someone who does, you could care less. We’ll try not to despise you too much as we deal with our sniffling and sneezing.

Unlike general allergic reactions, spring allergies are limited to the timing of the season and will wax and wane depending on the pollen or mold count in the air, said Benjamin Montgomery, MD, a family medicine physician with Memorial Physician Services-Jacksonville.

General allergic reactions typically last much longer depending on what’s causing the symptoms, such as a certain type of food or makeup. These allergies will last as long as you’re exposed to the trigger, which can take months or years to find, especially if the symptoms are subtle.

Seasonal allergies have more upper-airway symptoms, such as an itchy throat, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing or wheezing, said Avinash “Avi” Viswanathan, MD, an internal medicine physician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill.

If you suspect you have a seasonal allergy, you may not need to do anything about it if symptoms are mild and don’t interfere with your comfort or daily activities, Dr. Montgomery said. However, if symptoms are bothersome or interfere with work or school, contact your primary care physician for a medical history and physical to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

You should also monitor when your symptoms occur and see what pattern emerges, Dr. Avi said. Be aware of what’s in the environment as well as the timing and duration of your symptoms.

Here are some tips from both physicians about how to manage your spring allergies:

  • Keep your windows closed and use the air conditioner in warmer months.
  • Keep animals that can bring allergens into the house outside.
  • Shower or bathe at the end of the day to cleanse your body of any allergens.
  • Wear a mask and apply Vaseline on your upper lip and nostrils to help trap allergens before they’re inhaled.
  • Regularly wash bed linens.
  • With the advice of your physician, try over-the-counter antihistamines a few weeks before the season kicks in.