Spring Allergy Triggers

July 11, 2023
A girl with seasonal allergies holds a flower and sneezes into a tissue

Spring allergies make it difficult for many people to enjoy the warmer weather. To minimize their symptoms, most sufferers try to avoid common spring allergy triggers. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly exacerbate their problems by exposing themselves to little-known stimuli, which either cause or worsen allergy symptoms.

Read on to learn more about seasonal allergy symptoms, common and unexpected allergy triggers, and how to find relief. If your seasonal allergy symptoms have become too uncomfortable or are interfering with your daily life, visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care for on-demand care and allergy relief.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Allergy flare-ups occur when our bodies have an overactive immune response to outside stimuli. Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy eyes, throat, and nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes

Seasonal allergy symptoms can feel like a cold, but they should be treated differently. So, it’s important to determine which is the issue so you can seek appropriate treatment and relief. A skin test or blood test can determine whether you are suffering from allergies, and if so, pinpoint the specific allergen.

Most Common Allergy Triggers

The most common spring allergy trigger is pollen, a powder consisting of tiny airborne grains that plants release for the purpose of pollination. Pollen can travel in the air for miles, so even if you don’t have any of the offending trees, weeds, or grasses in your yard, you can unfortunately still be triggered by pollen—particularly on dry, breezy days.

The timing of spring seasonal allergy symptom onset can vary based on factors such as how mild or severe the preceding winter season was, with a milder winter often leading to an earlier pollen season and a severe winter causing a later one.

Many types of trees produce copious amounts of pollen, including:

  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Aspen
  • Beech
  • Box elder
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Juniper
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Sycamore
  • Willow

Some of the grasses and weeds commonly to blame for high pollen counts include:

  • Bermuda
  • Fescue
  • June
  • Orchard
  • Perennial rye
  • Redtop
  • Saltgrass
  • Sweet vernal
  • Timothy

Surprising Seasonal Allergy Culprits

There are many other things that can exacerbate allergy symptoms that you may not even consider. Some often-overlooked triggers that can worsen your seasonal allergies include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: When grass, tree, and weed pollen counts are high, your immune system may attack fruit and/or vegetable pollen. To reduce the risk, try cooking your vegetables and avoid eating fruit.
  • Alcohol: Because it dilates the nose’s blood vessels, alcohol can worsen allergies for people with asthma, hay fever, or chronic bronchitis.
  • Stress: Research suggests that stress can increase the body’s levels of allergy-triggering proteins, resulting in worsening symptoms and longer recovery times.
  • Hair products: Hair gels create a sticky surface that becomes a magnet for pollen. To reduce your symptoms, go light on these products.
  • Rainstorms: In the short term, rain helps decrease pollen counts; however, by stirring up more pollen, it ultimately increases allergies once things dry out.
  • Humidity: Excessive humidity creates a breeding ground for dust mites. To combat this, use a dehumidifier to keep your indoor humidity at around 40% to 45%.
  • Ceiling fans: These can send allergens airborne, where they have a better chance of invading your sinuses. Run your fans sparingly and make sure they are regularly dusted.
  • Overwatering houseplants: This promotes mold and mildew growth within soil, spurring allergies and diminishing indoor air quality.
  • Morning showers: If you’ve been exposed to pollen or other potential allergens, it’s a good idea to shower before bedtime, or you are apt to wake up with more symptoms.
  • Pets: In addition to exposing people to dander, dogs and cats tend to bring a lot of allergens in from outside, thanks to their thick fur coats.
  • Cleaning: This can also send allergens airborne, especially if you’re using a vacuum without a HEPA filter.

How to Reduce Flare-Ups & Get Allergy Relief

For some people, seasonal allergies are a minor nuisance. For others, they are a major problem that can lower quality of life. While allergies can’t be cured, there are plenty of treatment options available to provide relief.

Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and cough medications can help ease mild to moderate symptoms. For more severe seasonal allergies, a doctor-prescribed antihistamine or steroidal nasal spray may be warranted. In the most severe cases, allergen immunotherapy such as subcutaneous injections or sublingual tablets or drops may be prescribed.

You can also reduce your exposure to pollen and other allergens by:

  • Avoiding outdoor activities when pollen counts are high
  • Keeping the windows and doors of your car, home, and workplace closed to keep pollen out
  • Changing your clothes and/or showering after spending time outdoors to remove accumulated pollen
  • Avoiding mowing the lawn if your allegires are triggered by grass, pollen, or wearing a mask if you must mow it

Visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care for On-Demand Allergy Treatment

If your seasonal allergy symptoms are interfering with your daily life, visit PhysicianOne Urgent care for prompt treatment and relief. Our convenient locations are open 365 days per year with extended hours, and we offer virtual visits 24 hours per day. Walk into our clinic at any time during our operating hours or reserve your place in line with our online booking system. We take most major health insurance plans and offer affordable self-pay rates for those without insurance. Don’t let allergies hold you back this spring—visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care today.

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