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Experiencing seasonal allergies? You aren't alone

Spring season is a major contributor to flare-ups of those pesky environmental allergies. As trees and plants come out of their dormant phase, they also can make people feel quite miserable. And for the very unlucky ones, spring season is not the only allergy-triggered season. It’s also very common for allergies to trigger in the summer and fall. The good news—there are a lot of ways to help relieve your misery.

Allergy Triggers

The type of environmental allergies depends on where you live. In drier climates, more pollen is produced and often spreads by wind. In humid climates where there is more rain, pollen is more easily knocked down. Seasonal allergies also stick around longer in warmer climates. The warmer the climate, the longer the allergy season.

  • Spring: Tree pollen is the biggest allergy trigger. Some trees can pollinate in late February or early March. Depending on the tree you are allergic to, symptoms can run from February to May.
  • Summer: Summer allergies can look similar to fall allergies but are caused by different pollens—mostly grass and weed pollen.
  • Fall: Weed pollen allergies are most common and can be noticeable starting in August and extending into November.

Treating Allergies

There are several medications that can help relieve your allergy symptoms. Here are a few:


Just like the name, these medications help block histamines—the chemicals triggered by your allergy that cause common allergy symptoms. Common medications that are safe to use on a daily basis include:

  • Zyrtec (cetirizine), safe for pregnant people
  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Claritin (loratadine), safe for pregnant people
  • Xyzal (levocetirizine)

Nasal sprays

Intranasal steroid sprays are safe to use on a daily basis to help reduce inflammation in the nose. Some nasal sprays, such as Flonase (fluticasone) and Nasacort (triamcinolone), are available over the counter. Others are also available by prescription.


These medications can come in the form of pills or nasal sprays to help relieve congestion by shrinking swollen blood vessels and tissues. Decongestant nasal sprays are not recommended for daily use because of side effects. Common decongestants include Afrin, Sudafed, and Vicks Sinex.


Eye allergies can cause red, itchy, watery, and swollen eyes. Over the counter eyedrops, such as Zaditor (ketotifen) and Pataday (olopatadine) can help relieve symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether you should use an antihistamine, an anti-inflammatory, or a decongestant allergy eyedrop.

Other Prevention Measures

Avoiding your known triggers is the best way to prevent seasonal allergies. Here are some additional steps you can take that can help:

  • Limit outdoor activity
  • Change your clothes after spending time outside
  • Take a hot shower or bath to clear out your sinuses and to clean off any pollen on your skin, face, and hair
  • Keep windows closed
  • Keep animals off bedding and furniture
  • Use a Neti pot or a sinus rinse bottle to help flush your sinuses
  • Desensitization with allergy shots

Don't know where to start?

It’s best to talk to an allergist about your allergy symptoms and how to treat them. Allergists can identify allergy triggers and help find the best treatment options.