Allergies are caused when the body reacts to allergens. Seasonal spring allergies are caused by pollen from trees, grass and weeds. The body defends itself against allergens by releasing a chemical, called histamine, which causes the irritating symptoms associated with allergies. Common eye irritations include watery eyes, itching, redness and swelling. Nasal irritations include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose. Spring allergies are also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Some of the symptoms may be flu-like, but they last longer and do not cause fever.
The higher the pollen count, the worse your allergy will get. Pollen counts are usually highest in the morning, and on dry and windy days your symptoms will also get worse because the pollen is blown around in the air. These would be good times to stay indoors. On rainy days, the pollen is washed to the ground and there is less chance of breathing it in. You can start to take allergy medication before symptoms start, so they will effectively prevent your symptoms from flaring up. When spring is in the air, you can try to keep the air inside your home as allergen-free as possible, by running a HEPA filter and turning on the air conditioner. If you do start to feel miserable, there are over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, which can relieve allergy symptoms. In more severe cases, relief of allergy symptoms may require stronger prescription medications. Your doctor may also suggest that you test for allergens, so that you know exactly what triggers your body's reaction, and what medications will work best. Allergen immunotherapy is also an option for bad allergies, when the allergen has been determined by testing. A series of injections with small amounts of the allergen will desensitize your body over time, and reduce the allergic reaction.