At long last the warmer weather has finally come. But instead of packing a picnic lunch and heading outdoors to enjoy the sun, are you hiding inside with your windows closed? If so, you may be one of the estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from allergies that are caused by a wide range of triggers.1 And if you feel a lot worse when springtime comes, seasonal factors such as pollen, mold and ragweed are likely to blame for causing your symptoms.

Seasonal Triggers

If the newly green grass and budding plants and trees make you cough and sneeze and cause an itchy throat, eyes and nose, your seasonal allergies (also commonly known as hay fever, outdoor allergies and perennial allergies) may be running the show. But this is the perfect time for you to manage your symptoms and gain control.

Gain Control

The first step in managing seasonal allergies is to avoid the items that cause your symptoms to flare. Pollen and ragweed are typically big triggers at this time of year. You can help keep them at bay by following these simple tips:

  • Check pollen counts before you head outdoors. Armed with the facts, you can plan outdoor activities for times when the pollen is low and less likely to trigger your symptoms.
  • Understand that on warm, windy days allergens are often prevalent in the air. If you will be outdoors, protect yourself by covering your nose and mouth, avoiding freshly-cut lawns and heading to areas that have more pavement and fewer buds.
  • Keep your windows closed when you drive to keep pollen out of your car. Also close windows at home when allergens are high.
  • Wash your hair and clothes when you come inside to remove allergens that are trapped there.
  • Bath pets who spend time outside often to remove pollen from their hair.
  • Realize that indoor triggers can also cause your symptoms to flare, so take care to allergy proof your bedroom and other main living areas.

Use Medicine as Needed

In addition to avoiding your triggers, you will also want to some of the newest, and most effective, medicines available to prevent and treat your symptoms.

  • Consider antihistamines that can block your allergic reaction. Your doctor can prescribe some of the latest options on the market today such as Allegra®, which is taken by mouth, Astelin®, a nasal inhaler. You can also consider trying an over-the-counter alternative, such as Claritin® or Benedryl. ®
  • Try a different approach to head off seasonal allergies. Some patients have success using a leukotriene modifier like Singulair®, while others prefer Nasacrom®, which is a cromolyn sodium.
  • Rely on a corticosteroid nasal spray, which is available by prescription only. Some popular choices include Flonase® and Veramyst®.
  • Treat your nasal symptoms with a decongestant like Sudafed®. You can buy these over the counter and will usually get quick relief from your symptoms.

Enjoy the Weather

Talk to your doctor about the best approach to manage your specific concerns and discomforts. With the right medication and a little prevention and planning, you can manage your allergies and still head outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.


Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Allergy Facts and Figures.