The Basics: Seasonal Allergies

The temperatures are warming, the flowers are starting to blossom, and birds are busily building nests for a new family. Spring sounds so beautiful right? For some it can be a time of renewal, for others it is the beginning of seasonal sinus misery. Up to 60 million people in the US may have symptoms of allergic rhinitis each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are here to help you learn the basics of seasonal allergies: why they occur, what are the common symptoms, and what you can do to treat those symptoms. 

What causes seasonal allergies?

Pollen, spread in the air by plants as part of their reproductive cycle, is often the trigger for people with seasonal allergies. What types of pollen are around, and how much, can depend on where you live. Spring allergy sufferers are sensitive to tree pollens, particularly from oak, elm,  birch, cedar, willow, poplar, horse chestnut and alder trees. Dr. Monica T. Kraft, clinical assistant professor in the division of Allergy and Immunology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said allergy season could come earlier than it used to. “Climate change has led to earlier and longer pollen seasons in some parts of the United States,” said Kraft. “With warmer weather comes more pollen in the air as early as February.” 

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, these are the top 10 most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies in the US:

  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Buffalo, New York
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Albany, New York

What are some common symptoms associated with seasonal allergies?

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Runny nose 
  • Congestion in your nose, ears or chest
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy throat 
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sudden lack of exercise endurance
  • Mild headache

But aren’t some of those symptoms also symptoms of COVID-19? Experts say that it may be harder to distinguish an allergic response from a coronavirus infection if you’re fully vaccinated, given the protection you’ll have against a more severe case of COVID. Check out this chart from the Centers for Disease Control to determine if your symptoms may be related to coronavirus. 

What can I do to keep my seasonal allergy symptoms to a minimum?

Allergists recommend allergy sufferers keep your windows shut when your allergies are active and check your local weather network for pollen forecasts. Using an air purifier if you’re sensitive to indoor allergens and a dust mask while doing yard work can help as well. Taking a shower and washing your hair at the end of each day to get rid of pollen that is attached to your clothes, hair and skin can help with night-time allergy symptoms.

What over-the-counter (OTC) medications and treatments are available to me?

Legacy Medical Sales offers a variety of OTC allergy medications, including name brands such as Zyrtec. These medications are available as medicated nasal spray, eye drops, and tablets. Other non medication options for allergy treatments include the Neti-Pot, tissues, face masks, and saline nasal sprays. Check out our shop to find the right treatment for your allergy needs here: Don’t see what you need on our site? Contact a sales representative at or 1-800-446-7310 for a customized solution today. 

Don’t let seasonal allergy symptoms keep you from enjoying spring. By knowing the causes of your symptoms and treating them accordingly, you can embrace the season and all of its beauty.