The Sneeze

spring allergies

Spring Allergies in Columbus, OH

March 28, 2023

Written By:

Andy Dang, MD, FAAAAI

Spring Allergies

Spring is near and typically for people suffering from allergies, that means gearing up for worsening environmental allergy symptoms such as itchy/watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, rash, shortness of breath, and/or chest tightness. What is more prominent year-to-year however, is that "Spring allergy" symptoms seem to be starting earlier and earlier than they used to. This year, in 2023, we noticed tree pollen already starting up in the beginning of February (Winter!), and by now we are reaching moderately-high pollen indexes, and Spring has not officially begun yet (start of Spring is usually March 19-21st).

spring allergies

Why Are My Spring Allergies Worse This Year?

As you know, weather has been wacky here in Ohio and weather experts agree that we have much more unpredictable weather changes likely due to rising global temperatures. The plants that produce pollens: Trees, grasses, and weeds, are likely "getting confused" and end up putting out airborne pollen much earlier than they used to, and also continue to produce pollen much longer than they used to, as shown in a simulation study.

What this means for people suffering from allergies symptoms starting earlier and lasting longer, and potentially even more severe allergy symptoms due to prolonged exposure to allergen triggers.  If you are developing symptoms for the first time or are having longer lasting or more severe exacerbations of existing allergy symptoms, come in to see one of our allergy experts to get appropriately diagnosed and managed!

Frequently Asked Questions About Seasonal Allergies:

1. When should I see a doctor for my spring allergies?

You should see an allergist if you 1) have symptoms that are not adequately controlled with OTC medications like oral antihistamines and nasal sprays; 2) have side effects from OTC allergy medications such as drowsiness and/or nose bleeds; 3) want to identify specific allergy triggers through allergy testing.

2. What is the difference between seasonal allergies and year-round allergies?

Seasonal allergies are focused during certain seasons as follows: tree pollens peak in the Spring season, grass pollens peak in the Summer season, and weed pollens (particularly Ragweed) peak in the Fall season.  There can be overlap between these pollen seasons of course.  Year-round allergens are caused by indoor allergens that do not change with the seasons—think dust mites and pet danders, along with indoor mold (e.g. musty basement).

3. How do I know if my child has spring allergies?

If you notice that every Spring, your child has itchy/watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, cough and/or sore throat from post-nasal drainage, and/or asthma symptoms of wheezing or chest tightness, then your child may have Spring allergies.  Some children get recurrent sinus and/or ear infections secondary to chronic inflammation caused by spring allergies.

4. What are the common symptoms of spring allergies?

See above for common symptoms of spring allergies.