Some allergies and asthma produce problems year round, because they are triggered by substances found in the everyday living environment. You may find that your symptoms get worse every spring. Some people, though, are lucky enough to have more seasonal allergies and asthma. Spring allergies are sometimes called "hayfever," although they aren't caused by hay and don't result in a fever. They are, however, usually the outdoor type of allergies, meaning that the triggers are commonly found outdoors, rather than indoors.
Common symptoms of spring allergies can include:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery, burning eyes
- Itchy mouth or throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Tight feeling in the chest
Kids with asthma and allergies may also have what are known as the allergic salute, where they rub their noses upward because of itching and have allergic shiners, which are dark circles under the eyes caused by nasal congestion. These are all just the typical symptoms of allergies and asthma. Nothing is different in the spring, except that if you are allergic to spring allergens, your symptoms may increase.
Common Spring Allergens or Triggers
Spring begins at different times in different parts of the United States and other countries, depending on climate and location. When deciduous trees start to wake up from their "winter's sleep," though, spring allergies begin. The most common spring allergens, or triggers, are tree pollens. Pollen are tiny, egg-shaped male cells found in flowering plants. You may know pollen better as the tiny, powdery granules that plants use during the fertilization process. The size of a typical pollen spore is smaller in diameter than a human hair.
Many different kinds of trees can produce pollen that triggers allergies and asthma symptoms. The most common trees that do so are:
- Western Red Cedar
In the later spring, grass pollens may also become a factor. Common grass allergens include:
- Bermuda grass
- Orchard grass
- Red top grass
- Sweet vernal grass
- Timothy grass
The trees and grasses mentioned above may or may not all exist in your local area. If any of them do, though, and you are sensitive to their pollens, then you will have spring allergies and asthma symptoms.
The type of pollen that triggers allergies is a lightweight airborne powder. So it is easily spread far and wide on windy days. When it is rainy, however, the rain washes the pollen spores away and pollen counts tend to be lower, which brings relief from symptoms.