Do you dread the coming spring due to the onset of seasonal allergies? If so, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 60 million Americans are affected by spring allergies, with most experiencing allergy symptoms when plants are at peak bloom.
Spring allergy symptoms, which range from itchy, watery eyes to chest pains, can inhibit daily activities and deplete energy, leaving you exhausted and counting the days until summer or fall.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure to allergens and reduce your symptoms. Let's look at the most common causes of spring allergies and what you can do to prevent them.
What Causes Spring Allergies?
Pollen is the primary instigator of spring allergy symptoms, but allergens come in many forms. The top two causes of spring allergies are pollen and mold.
Pollen is the most common spring allergen. Trees, grasses, and weeds release pollen into the air to fertilize other plants of the same species. When pollen grains come into contact with humans, sometimes they cause a person’s immune system to overreact, resulting in allergic reactions. Those prone to pollen allergies may experience sneezing, itching, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and other symptoms—especially when pollen levels are high.
Here are eleven types of trees that most often trigger pollen allergies:
- Western red cedar
In late spring, these types of grass also release pollen that can trigger allergy symptoms:
- Bermuda grass
- Orchard grass
- Red top grass
- Sweet vernal grass
- Timothy grass
Mold spores are another common spring allergen. Mold reproduces by releasing tiny spores into the air, where they eventually land on moist surfaces and begin to grow. When mold spores come into contact with humans, they can cause watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and other allergy symptoms. Outdoor mold levels are highest during spring and summer because warm temperatures and high humidity create ideal conditions for mold growth.
Ways to Prevent Spring Allergies
Keep Windows Closed
One of the best ways to prevent spring allergies is by stopping allergens before they get into your home. The most effective way to do this is to keep windows and doors closed, especially when pollen levels are high. If you need fresh air, keep your windows open for no more than five minutes each day (set a timer if necessary). Even this short amount of time can trigger symptoms, so it's best to get a HEPA air purifier to help remove allergens from indoor air. Also, remember to keep vents and windows closed while driving.
Limit Time Outside
Spring often has warm, inviting weather, so it’s tempting to spend too much time in the sun after a long winter. However, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible during spring allergy season. Since pollen counts are typically lower later in the day, consider limiting your time outside to the late afternoon and evening. If you enjoy morning workouts, keep track of pollen counts and modify your workout time to when the count is lower.
Wash Clothes Regularly
Pollen sticks to fibers, which means you bring some into your home every time you return. To avoid tracking pollen throughout your house, take off your shoes and change into clean clothes as soon as you come inside. Put your street clothes in the wash immediately and launder as soon as possible. Also, avoid hanging clothes outside on a clothesline during the allergy season when pollen counts are high.
Shower at Night
Pollen can accumulate in your hair and on your skin during the day. To avoid transferring pollen to your bedding, shower before going to sleep. This habit removes pollen from your body so you can sleep more soundly.
Vacuum and Clean Regularly
Cleaning is important year-round, but it's especially crucial during spring allergy season. Be sure to vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter to remove pollen from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces. You should also dust with a damp cloth and mop weekly to prevent allergens from accumulating on surfaces. In addition, don't forget to clean air filters in furnaces and air conditioners monthly to prevent allergens from circulating.
Break the Cycle and Stop Spring Allergies Before They Start
If you've tried preventative measures with no luck, it's time to call an allergy specialist. Your regular doctor may be a good place to start, but for long-lasting relief and symptom management, getting comprehensive testing is the best route.
At Wyndly, we offer a simple and effective at-home testing kit that provides you with an allergen profile that tells you exactly what triggers those irritating symptoms. You'll also meet with one of our allergy doctors to develop a personalized treatment plan that will get you on the road to living symptom-free.
Start today by taking our quick, two-minute assessment and be one step closer to long-lasting allergy relief!