How to Live With Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies resulting from exposure to pollen from trees, grass and weeds can develop throughout the year depending on where you live and the type of allergen that causes your symptoms. To learn how to live with seasonal allergies, you will need to identify your symptoms, avoid exposure to allergens and seek medical assistance if your symptoms persist.


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    Identify your allergy symptoms.
    • Symptoms of seasonal allergies occur due to your immune system's response to allergens such as pollen. These pollens are perceived as a threat by your immune system. It overreacts by introducing large amounts of chemicals called histamine and leukotrienes into the bloodstream.
    • Symptoms occur upon exposure to an allergen and persist until the allergen is removed. The histamine and leukotrienes the body produces in response to the allergen, work to expel the allergen from the body by producing symptoms.
    • Symptoms of seasonal allergies may include sneezing, itchy and/or burning eyes, stuffy or runny nose, or a cough due to postnasal drip. You may also develop red and swollen eyes with dark circles.
    • If you develop a persistent cough, have trouble breathing, and hear wheezing in your lungs, you may have developed asthma due to seasonal allergies.
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    Reduce allergen exposure.
    • Stay indoors as often as possible on high pollen days in your area. You can check pollen counts by accessing the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology website. Some morning news programs also provide local pollen counts.
    • Keep all windows and outside doors closed to avoid pollen getting into your home. When driving, keep your car windows up.
    • Change air conditioner filters in your home frequently. Air filters help to reduce the allergens like dust and pollen in your home.
    • Dust inside your home often to remove allergens that may have come into your house from outside.
    • Bathe indoor pets frequently to reduce the amount of pollen they bring into the house.
    • Shower and wash your hair every evening to get rid of pollen that has collected on your body during the day.
    • Clean your bed sheets, blankets and comforters frequently. Cover your pillows and mattresses with encasements that can washed.
    • Clean your carpets with a vacuum that has a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters trap small airborne allergens such as dust and pollen.
    • Dry clothes inside as opposed to outside on a clothes line.
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    Choose an over-the-counter medication or herbal remedy.
    • Over-the-counter medications can provide temporary relief from seasonal allergies. Antihistamines reduce the chemical histamine in the blood stream. They can be used to decrease itching and mucus. Antihistamines come in liquid and pill form as well as nose sprays and eye drops.
    • Another over-the-counter medication is a decongestant. Decongestants reduce the inflammation in the nasal passage by decreasing blood flow to the nose. This form of allergy medication comes in a pills, liquid and nasal spray.
    • Some herbs provide relief for seasonal allergy symptoms. Butterbur is an herb that works like an antihistamine to reduce allergy symptoms.
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    Seek medical assistance, if necessary.
    • While over-the-counter drugs can help you manage your seasonal allergies temporarily, your primary physician or an allergist can determine what you are allergic to and prescribe medications for long-term management of your allergies.
    • An allergist can conduct a skin scratch test to determine what allergens are causing your symptoms. A skin test involves applying allergens to the skin such as pollen and then using a device to "scratch" the skin, allowing the allergens to into the epidermis. Skin reactions to allergens can include swelling, redness and itching.
    • Once the doctor has determined what you are allergic to, a course of treatment can be developed. You may be prescribed medication or immunotherapy to manage your seasonal allergies.
    • Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, decongestants, and/or nasal steroids to reduce your allergy symptoms.
    • Immunotherapy (allergy shots)are injections of increasing amounts of allergens into the skin. This process will reduce your sensitivity to the allergens you are allergic to over time. Your doctor will determine how long you will need immunotherapy.


  • Prolonged use of some over-the-counter allergy medications (like decongestants) may increase your allergy symptoms.

Things You'll Need

  • Air filters
  • Vacuum with HEPA filters
  • Pillow and mattress encasements
  • Prescription allergy medication
  • Immunotherapy

Article Info

Categories: Allergies and Immunization