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Don’t Let Allergies Spoil Your Spring

May 4, 2021

Simple Tips to Keep Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Away

It isn’t your imagination. As temperatures warm, many people notice the return of nagging allergy symptoms. Nearly 20 million people were diagnosed with hay fever in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And during the pandemic, it might be confusing to differentiate if that tickle in your throat is your allergies or COVID-19.

Sprouting grass, flowering plants, and the rain that makes them grow are welcome signs of spring for most, but for some, they are the warning signs of hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Pollen and mold spores are tiny particles that can have dramatically different effects from person to person. Many have manageable – but nagging – symptoms like coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, headaches, or scratchy throat. Others can experience more severe reactions like hives, rashes, asthma attacks and worse.

“I’ve seen a number of patients concerned that their allergy symptoms are COVID-19,” explained Dr. Suzanne Burge, Heartland Regional Board-Certified Family Medicine Specialist. “Nasal congestion, sneezing, sinus pressure, and postnasal drop are the hallmarks of most seasonal allergies. COVID-19 patients often experience headaches, loss of taste and smell, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. Without a fever, allergies are most likely the culprit.”

Although the 2021 allergy season is already underway, it isn’t necessary to suffer through it. With simple steps, you can reduce symptoms and have a more enjoyable spring.

  • When counts are high, stay inside. Limiting outdoor activities will reduce the amount of pollen exposure and your symptoms. Keep windows closed and consider using a special air filter for your central air system designed to remove allergens.
  • Wear your mask. In addition to protecting yourself against COVID-19, face masks help filter out many allergy-triggering culprits. As always, remember to wash or discard masks after each use to avoid cross-contamination and allergens that may settle on them.
  • Cover up. Wear sunglasses or a hat to help protect against getting pollen in your eyes and hair.
  • Leave pollen at the door. Change and wash your clothes after outdoor activities. Leave shoes outside to avoid tracking allergens through your home.
  • Scrub-a-dub. Shower and wash your hair before bed and wash bedding once a week to make sure allergens don’t continue to irritate you overnight. When it comes to laundry, use your dryer instead of on an outside line where pollen can stick to clothes.
  • Early intervention. Start taking allergy medicine as soon as possible to manage symptoms.
  • Talk to a doctor. If you’ve tried these suggestions and still need relief, Heartland Regional Medical Group – Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) can help. Specially trained physicians can perform testing to pinpoint what’s causing your symptoms and develop a personalized care plan for you.

Whether your allergies are a nuisance or seriously affecting your quality of life, treatment can help. Contact us today. To schedule an appointment with one of our family medicine specialists, visit