Posted on Feb 27, 2015 9:47pm PST

The spring allergy season has already started, with warm weather resulting in rapidly rising tree pollen counts as early as February. People with allergies can breathe a little easier this spring if they know how to take control of their spring allergies and practice a few key survival techniques, according to Dr. Eugene Hurwitz of the Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia.

What are the symptoms of spring allergies?

Spring allergy symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Fatigue

How do I avoid spring allergies?

First, reduce your exposure to the pollens that trigger allergy symptoms. Dr. Eugene Hurwitz recommends that patients:

  • Postpone outdoor activities till later in the morning. Pollens are usually highest between the hours of 5 – 10 am.
  • Know your local pollen count.
  • Wash all bedding and linens weekly in hot water.
  • Shower and wash your hair each night before going to bed.
  • If possible, keep all windows and doors closed.
  • Be sure to use a filter mask when mowing the lawn or raking leaves.

Medications to Treat Spring Allergy Symptoms

Although spring allergies can make both children and adults feel miserable, there are medications that can help curb allergy symptoms. These medications include:

  • Antihistamines. These medications help to control symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and runny nose.
  • Nasal Steroid Spray. Nasal corticosteroids, the strongest medication available for the treatment of allergies, controls allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, and runny nose.

Allergy Shot Treatment for Spring Allergies

If avoidance and medications do not effectively treat your spring allergies, allergy shots, or immunotherapy, are an effective treatment option for both children and adults. Allergy shots are more effective and less expensive than relying on daily medications, and they reduce the symptoms associated with sinusitis by 80-90%.