Answers to Common Questions About Spring Allergies

Q: What Can Cause Allergy Symptoms During the Spring Season?

A: Various tree pollens are detected during spring season and, typically in the NY/NJ area, trees such as birch, maple, oak, and ash can produce pollens that lead to allergy symptoms. Tree pollen is detected in the air typically starting in mid-March (but can occur earlier based on the preceding winter season and various other environmental factors) and lasts through the end of May/early June.

Q: What Steps Can I Take To Reduce Allergen Exposure in the Spring Season?

A:  It important that you keep your windows closed both at home and while driving in your car. This can minimize pollen from entering indoor environments. After coming home from outdoor activities, it is important to leave your shoes at the door and change your clothes right away so that you do not spread pollens inside the home. Of course, it is also a good practice to take shower and wash your hair after you have been working outdoors. Following pollen counts, which is now easily accomplished with weather reports, can help you take appropriate, preventive steps to reduce your exposure further.

Q: What Medications Can I Take To Relieve My Symptoms?

A: There are various medication options available, from oral antihistamines to nasal sprays to eye drops. Some may need to take a combination of these depending on the degree and severity of their symptoms. As a number of allergy medications are now over the counter, you may start with these, but an allergist/immunologist can provide expert guidance on further medication options as many will not note complete relief in their symptoms with over the counter medications. Additionally, and more importantly, it is important to be educated about the proper use of medications, especially given the increasingly wide availability of the over the counter medications.

Q: I Do Not Feel Comfortable Taking Medications on a Long-Term Basis Due to Concern for Side Effects. What Are My Other Options? Can Allergy Shots Help?

A: Allergy shots (Immunotherapy) are a highly effective treatment option that can provide a more definitive, long-term relief in your allergy symptoms. Allergy shots modify and “teach” your immune system to develop tolerance rather than allergic response to various allergens. Allergist/Immunologists can provide this effective treatment option for those looking for a long-term solution to their allergy symptoms.  

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