Spring is here, but so are allergies

March 21, 2014 by Cedric Ricks

Spring has finally arrived in Cincinnati, but soon to follow will be the coughing, sneezing and wheezing that comes with allergies, hay fever and asthma—three warm weather killjoys most could do without.

"Tree allergy season begins late March and goes through late May or early June," says Jonathan Bernstein, MD, an expert in allergies and asthma and a professor in University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "Individuals sensitized to tree pollen aeroallergens will experience itching of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, runny nose, post nasal drainage, and often headaches and sinus pressure or pain."

Approximately 70 million Americans suffer from (allergies or ), with about half affected by , says Bernstein, director of clinical research in the division of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at UC and a physician at UC Health.

Patients with allergic rhinitis are at a three-fold increase in risk of developing asthma, says Bernstein. Often patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis complain of chest tightness or wheezing during the pollen season.

So what can you do?

Cincinnati is just beginning to enjoy , but for allergy and hay fever sufferers keeping the windows closed at home and running the air conditioner when possible could help reduce some symptoms, says Bernstein.

"Treatment with such as nasal corticosteroids and nasal antihistamines can help reduce inflammation in the nasal airways if used on a regular basis," says Bernstein. Often these treatments can be used alone to control symptoms, but sometimes it might be necessary to use an oral low-sedating antihistamine (such as fexofenadine, cetirizine or loratadine) with or without eye drop medication."

"There are now many non-sedating or low-sedating antihistamines over-the-counter and recently a nasal corticosteroid was cleared by the FDA for over-the-counter sale," says Bernstein, referring to the allergy nasal spray triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort AQ).

"All these medications should be used under the supervision of a physician," he says. "Long-term treatment includes allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) in properly selected patients which can induce tolerance to aeroallergens."

Tree allergy season won't last forever and as it ends in late May, grass season will begin and continue until mid-July. Individuals who battle Ragweed allergies won't have to deal with the seasonal sniffles until mid-August, but will have relief when the first frost arrives, says Bernstein.

Explore further: Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows

Related Stories

Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows

August 25, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Hot chili peppers are known to make people "tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived ...

Managing seasonal allergies

June 17, 2013

(HealthDay)—Although spring arrived late this year in parts of the United States, the summer allergy season will still be strong, according to a sinus expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Got the sniffles? Migraines spike with allergies and hay fever

November 25, 2013

People with migraine who also battle allergies and hay fever (rhinitis) endure a more severe form of headaches than their peers who struggle with migraine, but aren't affected by the seasonal or year-round sniffles, according ...

New nasal filter looks promising for allergy sufferers

March 7, 2014

A small filter the size of a contact lens could possibly make life easier for some of the estimated 500 million people worldwide who suffer from itching, sneezing and a runny nose as soon as the pollen season starts.

Could 'nasal filter' device help ease allergies?

March 21, 2014

(HealthDay)— A new device that you wear in your nose—about the size of a contact lens and works like a miniature air filter for a furnace—might help filter out pollen and other allergens and keep them out of your sinuses.

Recommended for you

Snapshot turns T cell immunology on its head

October 6, 2015

Challenging a universally accepted, longstanding consensus in the field of immunity requires hard evidence. New research from the Australian Research Council Centre of excellence in advanced Molecular imaging has shown the ...

Four gut bacteria decrease asthma risk in infants

September 30, 2015

New research by scientists at UBC and BC Children's Hospital finds that infants can be protected from getting asthma if they acquire four types of gut bacteria by three months of age. More than 300 families from across Canada ...

Flu infection reveals many paths to immune response

September 28, 2015

A new study of influenza infection in an animal model broadens understanding of how the immune system responds to flu virus, showing that the process is more dynamic than usually described, engaging a broader array of biological ...

Immune cells may help fight against obesity

September 15, 2015

While a healthy lifestyle and "good genes" are known to help prevent obesity, new research published on September 15 in Immunity indicates that certain aspects of the immune system may also play an important role. In the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.