As lawn care professionals, we love spring and all of the growing and blooming that comes along with it. But just like all good things, spring does come with its drawbacks. The biggest one for millions of people is spring allergies. Also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies can be a real nuisance. Let’s talk about what causes allergies in the spring and how you can prevent and treat your symptoms.
Spring Allergy Symptoms
If you have ever experienced seasonal allergies, you know they can make you miserable. Symptoms vary widely from person to person and may include:
- runny nose
- itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- red, watery eyes
- stuffy nose
- postnasal drip
- asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing
Causes of Spring Allergies
Seasonal allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to a generally harmless substance, known as an allergen. In response to the allergen, your body releases histamine, which causes swelling in the eyes and nose, as well as sneezing, in an attempt to block and remove allergies from the body.
In spring, the main cause of allergy symptoms is pollen. Spring is when most plants and trees produce pollen for the purpose of reproduction. One notable exception is ragweed pollen – this is a common allergen that is produced in late summer and early fall.
Many plants rely on the wind to spread their pollen. All of this pollen blowing around in the air is the primary cause of spring allergies.
Grass starts growing in the spring, but it releases its pollen in the late spring and early summer. Both warm-season grass and cool-season grasses can cause allergic reactions in allergy sufferers, but certain grasses are the most common allergy triggers. These include Kentucky bluegrass, Bermudagrass, rye, timothy, redtop, sweet vernal, Johnson, and orchard.
Trees produce pollen at different times throughout the spring, depending on the region and the type of tree. The most common trees to cause allergy symptoms are cedar, elm, birch, ash, aspen, oak, beech, willow, poplar, alder, cottonwood, and pecan.
How to Prevent Spring Allergies
You can take steps to reduce your exposure to pollen and reduce allergy symptoms.
- Stay inside on dry and windy days.
- Check local pollen counts and limit time outside when pollen levels are high.
- Wear a mask when mowing or gardening, or hire a lawn care service to do it for you.
- Remove clothes and shoes when coming in from outdoors.
- Shower after spending time outside to remove pollen from your hair and skin.
- Use a HEPA filter in your bedroom.
- Turn on the air conditioning in your house and car, and keep the windows closed.
- Clean or replace filters in forced-air heating or air conditioning systems.
- Do not dry clothes and linens outdoors on a clothesline.
Spring Allergy Treatment
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), there are many different treatment options available for allergy symptoms.
- See an allergist if you are experiencing frequent cough and sinus congestion. They may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine, decongestant, eye drops or nasal spray.
- Ask your allergy specialist about immunotherapy, or allergy shots.
- Begin taking allergy medications about two weeks before allergy season is expected to start.
With proper prevention and treatment, your pollen allergy doesn’t have to ruin your springtime fun. If you need to delegate your lawncare tasks this year, the professionals at Green Group are happy to help. Give us a call today.