Every year, more than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies caused by pollen from trees, grass, and weeds. Most people are likely to be bothered by allergy symptoms in the spring and early summer.
Seasonal allergies primarily impact:
However, not everyone will experience all the symptoms. Typical or classic symptoms may include:
- An itchy feeling in the roof of the mouth
- Watery eyes
- Persistent cough
- Sore throat
However, some can mimic signs of infection, such as:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Red or watery eyes
- Ear congestion
- Sinus congestion and pain
If these symptoms persist for more than a week or two, a person may be reacting to seasonal irritants. These irritants differ in every person.
Other common signs and symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Difficulty or painful breathing
- Eye redness or itchiness
- Fever or chills
- New rashes
- Lack of energy
- Chest tightness
- Blue-colored, swollen undereye skin
- Postnasal drip
Pay attention to the body, and watch for severe allergy symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal cramps
- Flushed skin
- Hives and rash
- Breathing problems
- Abnormal pulse
- Swelling of the face, lips, or throat
- Trouble talking or swallowing
What causes allergies in one person may not cause them in another. They can change depending on the season. Knowing when the symptoms are the worst can help figure out what a person might be allergic to.
What is a seasonal allergy?
An allergy is an exaggerated reaction of the immune system to something in the environment. Seasonal allergies are more common during certain times of the year when irritants or allergens, such as plant pollen, are in greater volume in the environment.
Seasonal allergies also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when the immune system recognizes something in the environment as harmful, prompting the immune system to produce antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) that remain on the lookout for that substance.
When a person is exposed to the substance again, the antibodies attack the "invader" by releasing immune system chemicals, such as histamine, which causes allergy symptoms. Depending on the seasons, the causes of seasonal allergies vary.
Tree pollens are a primary source of springtime allergies, and may include these trees:
- Horse chestnut
- Oak Poplar
- Grass pollens are an issue in many states
The springtime allergy season runs from late February into summer.
During summer months, grass pollens are the dominant allergen, which may include:
- Orchard grasses
- Several weed species
- Bluegrass is a major offender (It has the highest pollen counts of any grass type.)
The leading source of fall allergies is ragweed. Other autumn allergen-producers include:
- Plants pigweed
- Burning bus
- Sorrel pollens and mold contribute during July to October
Wintertime allergies tend to originate indoors. Cold-weather allergens include:
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Cockroach sheddings
While the timing and amount of pollen released can vary, the weather can also affect the level of exposure.
Pollens from trees, grasses, and ragweed spread more easily during dry, warm days and cool nights, whereas mold grows quickly in areas with frequent rain and high humidity.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid airborne allergens because they exist in all environments where plants grow.
How to manage seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergy is an abnormal (hypersensitive) immune system reaction. Without task-specific treatment to reduce sensitivity, it could last a patient’s entire life.
Effective allergy treatment by family doctors or allergy and immunology specialists could significantly reduce the severity of symptoms. It is possible to reduce sensitivity and alter the course of the disease.
This simple trick will help relieve a stuffy nose and make breathing easier.
- Hold the head above a warm bowl or sink filled with water and cover the head with a towel to keep the steam trapped.
Various medications can alleviate allergic symptoms and may include:
- Antihistaminic medications: Allergic symptoms, such as mucus and lacrimation, are greatly reduced. This treatment is typically administered in the form of a pill or syrup to be taken daily.
- Nasal spray: It contains trace amounts of steroids, which help reduce nasal inflammation.
- Eye drops: When the eyes are red and itchy, it is recommended to use an antihistamine eye drop to help prevent watery eyes and redness.
- Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays (INCS): They can help with allergies ranging from mild to severe. A prescription could be required for higher doses.
- Combination therapies (INCS and antihistamine): They are used to treat moderate to severe allergic rhinitis and combine the advantages of both medications.
- Adrenaline (epinephrine): In the event of an emergency, this first-aid is used to treat life-threatening severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). In an emergency, an adrenaline auto-injector is commonly used to provide adrenaline.
Immunotherapy (allergy vaccinations)
- The allergy-triggering allergens are gradually injected in increasing doses as part of these vaccinations.
- This is a treatment that is given over a period, during which patients develop passivity toward that antigen.
- The treatment has a very high success rate (80 to 90 percent) and is the only treatment capable of reducing "allergic sensitivity" by confronting the illness itself, thereby reducing the need for ongoing medical treatments.
The best way to avoid allergy symptoms is to avoid or limit allergens. Avoidance, however, necessitates identifying the source of the allergy and taking steps to reduce exposure to the allergen.
Consult a professional and devise a strategy to help manage the symptoms more effectively.
- Attachment Theory: What It Is, Stages & the Different Attachment Styles
- Gentle Parenting: What It Is, Techniques & Discipline
- U.S. Nursing Homes Fail to Report Many Serious Falls, Bedsores: Study
- The Younger You Get Diabetes, the Higher Your Risk for Dementia Later
- FDA Grants Full Approval to Paxlovid to Treat COVID-19
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Seasonal Allergies. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/
Katella K. Seasonal Allergies Are Worse This Year—Why and What You Can Do About It. Yale Medicine. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/seasonal-allergies
Patterson A. Seasonal Allergies: A Month-by-Month Guide. Blanchard Valley Health System. https://www.bvhealthsystem.org/expert-health-articles/seasonal-allergies-a-month-by-month-guide
Top What Are Typical Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Related Articles
Allergies QuizWhat are the causes of allergies? This online quiz challenges your knowledge of common food and household allergens, environmental triggers, allergic diseases and conditions, and allergy symptoms and treatments.
Allergy Treatment Begins at HomeAvoiding allergy triggers at home is one of the best ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation are a few ways to allergy-proof the home. Cleaning, vacuuming, and using HEPA air filters also helps control allergies.
Antihistamine Shots (Injections)Antihistamine shots or injections are prescription drugs used for the rapid treatment of allergic reactions, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and induce sedation. The common side effects of this type of medication include dizziness, drowsiness (sleepiness), dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, increased or decreased blood pressure, headache, abnormal heart rate, nausea, trouble breathing, tiredness (fatigue), and weakness.
Antihistamines (Oral)Oral antihistamines are medications used to treat symptoms of congestion, runny nose, the common cold, sneezing, itchy throat, skin rashes, hives, itching, and watery or itchy eyes. Some antihistamines also are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and motion sickness. Common side effects of first-generation antihistamines include drowsiness, dry mouth, decreased tear production, urinary retention (trouble urinating), blurred vision, constipation, and agitation.
cetirizine (Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy, Zyrtec Hives)Cetirizine is a drug used to treat seasonal or perennial allergies and hives. Side effects that have been reported with cetirizine include sleepiness (occurs in 14% of patients), dry mouth, nausea, headache, fatigue, jitteriness, and sore throat. Other important but rare side effects include allergic reactions, seizures, fainting, and low blood pressure. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cold, Flu, Allergy TreatmentsBefore treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
diphenhydramineDiphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an OTC and prescription injection medication used to treat hay fever, hives, allergic conjunctivitis, motion sickness, and mild cases of Parkinsonism. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed before taking this medication.
Do Allergy Desensitization Shots Work?Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to harmless substances called allergens. Allergy desensitization shots make your body less likely to react to allergen.
fluticasoneFluticasone propionate nasal spray is a corticosteroid prescribed for the management of symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. Side effects of fluticasone include headache, sore throat, nosebleeds, nasal burning or nasal irritation, nausea, vomiting, asthma symptoms, or cough. Consult with your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Ways to Reduce Mold AllergiesWebMD shows you 10 ways to fight the fungus and reduce mold allergy symptoms from dust masks to bottles of bleach.
Nasal Allergy ReliefLearn how a combination of medication, preventing allergens, and allergy relief products can reduce allergy symptoms and help you feel better.
Nasal IrrigationClogged sinuses and congestion bothering you? Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms associated with colds and allergies. Learn how to do nasal irrigation with this visual guide from WebMD.
Pets & AllergiesHow do you control and relieve pet allergies? How do you prevent pet allergies? Learn dog and cat allergy symptoms, the cause of allergies to cats and dogs, how to clean up for pet allergies, and the truth about hypoallergenic dogs and cats. Discover how to treat symptoms of pet allergies.
promethazinePromethazine is a drug prescribed to treat nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, allergic reactions, and for sedation prior to surgery. Promethazine causes sedation, confusion, and disorientation. In children less than two years of age it can depress respiration and lead to death. Other side effects include anticholinergic side effects such as blurred vision, dry mouth, dilated pupils, nausea, urinary retention (inability to urinate), impotence, and constipation.
Should I Exercise Outside if I Have Allergies?An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overresponds to a foreign substance. With the right treatment and precautions, you can completely eliminate allergy flare-ups during your outdoor workout.
What Are Typical Allergy Symptoms?Allergy symptoms differ depending on the type of allergy and body part involved. For example, food allergies may cause different symptoms than nasal allergies or eye allergies. The severity of symptoms may also vary, ranging from mild irritation to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
What Causes Allergy Flare-ups?During certain seasons, allergies can make you miserable. Learn what causes allergy flare-ups during spring and summer.
What Causes Sudden Allergies in Adults?Can you develop allergies as an adult? Learn about what causes sudden adult-onset allergies and how you can recognize the symptoms.
Why Won’t My Allergy Symptoms Go Away?Allergies happen when your body's immune system reacts to certain substances as though they are harmful. Allergy symptoms may not go away unless you avoid your triggers, stick to your medications, find the right combination of medications, and consider surgery.