When Spring – and Pollen – Are In The Air

Published: March 5, 2021

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Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) affects some 35 million people in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.  The spring pollen season, starting very soon, comes about as trees such as birch, cedar, cottonwood, and pine, pollinate.(1)

Symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Runny nose and nasal congestion
  • Watery, itchy, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Fatigue(2)

Avoidance is the first line of defense for people allergic to pollen. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America offers several suggestions for allergy sufferers: keep windows closed during high pollen days, wash bedding weekly in hot water, change clothes after outdoor activities, keep lawn short, remove shoes before entering the home, and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep pollen out of hair and eyes.(3) To check on pollen counts in your area, visit The National Board of Allergy https://pollen.aaaai.org/#/  which reports updated pollen counts from across the country.

Various medicines are used to treat hay fever, including antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) “is a proven treatment approach that provides lasting benefits for many people suffering from allergic rhinitis.”( 4)

(1) Pongdee, T. M.D., (reviewer) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Spring Allergies, https://www.aaaai.org
(2) Mayo Clinic, Hay Fever, https://www.mayoclinic.org
(3) Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Tips for Preventing Allergic Reactions to Tree and Grass Pollen, https://community.aafa.org
(4) Moore, A. M.D. (reviewer) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Hay Fever and Allergy Medications, https://www.aaaai.org