April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring allergies. Why? It's during this month that many trees begin to pollinate, triggering allergies in those who are susceptible.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common allergens in April, as well as the symptoms they can cause. We'll also discuss what you can do to manage your allergies and reduce your symptoms.
What Causes Spring Seasonal Allergies?
No matter the time of the year, seasonal allergies are caused by the same thing: an immune response to substances known as allergens. When your body comes into contact with these allergens, it mistakes them for dangerous invaders. It then releases histamines and other chemicals to protect the body.
This release of histamines and other chemicals causes itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. In some cases, the reaction can be severe, causing difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat.
The most common airborne allergens are pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. These particles are so small that they can be carried for miles on the wind, making it difficult for people with allergies to avoid them.
The circulation of outdoor allergens begins to rise in the spring as plants begin to pollinate after the colder months of winter. For many people, tree pollen is the biggest problem in early spring, while grass and weed pollen become more of a problem later in the year.
Common Spring Allergy Triggers
Trees are among the first to bloom in the spring and are therefore a leading cause of allergies during April. Trees produce tiny pollen grains that are disseminated into the air, where they can be inhaled.
Some of the most common allergenic trees include:
What Are Common April Allergy Symptoms?
April allergy symptoms look a lot like those you'd see during any other month of the year. Allergy symptoms result from the release of histamines and other chemicals in response to contact with an allergen. Symptoms can range from milder, cold-like symptoms to more life-threatening ones like anaphylaxis.
Symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
In some cases, they may be more severe and can include:
- Swelling of the throat or tongue
- Itchy skin
If you experience severe allergy symptoms, immediately seek out emergency medical attention.
If you suspect you may have allergies, consider taking an allergy test. Doing so will help you confirm whether or not allergies are the cause of your symptoms and, if so, what specific allergens you're allergic to. Once you know this information, you can work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that will help you find long-term relief from your symptoms
How Are Spring Allergies Diagnosed?
Testing is an important step to take upon experiencing potential allergy symptoms. Doing so will allow you to develop a plan for managing and treating them. There are several methods available for getting diagnosed. The two most prevalent methods are a skin prick test and an at-home allergy test.
Skin Prick Test
The skin prick test is the most well-known allergy test out there, having been the standard approach to diagnosis for decades. It involves pricking the skin with fine needles to observe how the immune system reacts to them. Each needle is tipped with specific allergens and multiple allergens can be tested at once.
If you have an allergy, the area around the needle will become red, itchy, and inflamed within 15-20 minutes. The skin prick test is usually done on the back or forearm.
While it has been the standard for some time, there are some downsides to this test. The first is that it's uncomfortable. No one likes getting poked with needles or dealing with itchy hives. The second is that it can be inaccessible to some since it’s usually only available in person at a doctor’s office and that can get expensive.
At-Home Allergy Test
If you're looking for a more convenient, comfortable, and affordable option, an at-home allergy test kit might be right for you.
Here's what getting one involves:
- Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. Order Wyndly's CLIA-certified at-home allergy test online. We'll ship it straight to your door in a matter of days.
- Take the allergy test and send it back to us. A simple blood sample is all we need to get started. Gently prick your finger following the instructions in the kit, and then send your sample back to us when you're done.
- Receive your allergy profile. Our team of expert doctors and allergists will analyze your test to create a personalized allergy treatment plan.
How to Prepare for Spring Allergy Season?
Upon identifying sensitivities to springtime allergens like pollen, it's important to take steps to prepare for allergy season. Simple actions like washing and cleaning more frequently can help limit your exposure. This will help you minimize your symptoms and make the most of the warmer months.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep windows closed and use A/C: Ensure that pollen doesn't float its way into your house by keeping windows closed and running the A/C. Additionally, equipping your A/C with a HEPA filter will further purify the air inside your home and make sure that pollen stays out.
- Check pollen counts: Before heading outdoors, check the local pollen count. If it's high, take extra measures to protect yourself from exposure like wearing a dust mask or sunglasses.
- Shower after being outside: Pollen can cling to your body after spending time outdoors. To avoid tracking it into your home, take a shower as soon as you come inside.
- Wash clothes: Pollen can stay on fabric, so it's important to wash your clothes after spending time outside.
- Take your shoes off when you come inside: Pollen can also accumulate on your shoes. To avoid tracking it throughout your home, take them off as soon as you come inside.
- Wipe pets down: When your pet goes outside, they're exposed to pollen and will bring it back with them when they come inside. To avoid spreading it around, wipe them down with a wet cloth when they come back inside. Giving them more baths can also be helpful.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies in April?
While limiting exposure can reduce your chances of experiencing an allergic reaction, there will be times when you can't avoid coming into contact with your trigger substance. Pollen is so small that it is almost impossible to completely avoid. In order to get rid of your allergies, it's important to have an effective treatment plan in place in addition to taking measures to reduce exposure.
Over-the-counter medications are an accessible and affordable way to temporarily manage mild to moderate allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by blocking temporarily histamine, a chemical that your body releases in response to an allergic trigger. This relieves symptoms like itchiness, sneezing, and a runny nose.
- Eye drops: If you tend to experience red, watery, or itchy eyes with allergies, then eye drops can provide you short-term relief from these symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays clear pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages and reduce inflammation. This relieves symptoms like congestion.
If over-the-counter options aren’t working, or you want a long-term solution, sublingual immunotherapy might be right for you.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a type of allergy treatment that results in long-term relief from your symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy involves placing drops or tablets of an allergen extract under your tongue daily. Over time, your immune system becomes desensitized and you stop reacting when exposed to allergens.
SLIT is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional allergy shots. It's just as effective, less invasive, and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
Dealing with springtime allergies can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. If you're looking for a long-term solution, sublingual immunotherapy could be the answer. Wyndly's allergy assessment can help you figure out if this treatment option is right for you.
Take our quick survey today to get one step closer to an allergy-free life!