For health's sake · Seasonal spring allergies

The last of the snow has melted away and now your eyes are red and brimming with watery tears. It could be that what seemed like nine months of winter weren’t enough for you. But, it could also be you’re suffering from seasonal allergies.

“As the snow is melting and the temperatures are getting warmer, and those trees are blooming, all those pollens are filling the environment and starting to cause those classic seasonal allergy symptoms,” explained Allergist Mollie Alpern on the For Health’s Sake podcast.

But allergies aren’t the only reasons for watery eyes, a runny nose and nasal congestion. Another common cause? The common cold. Dr. Alpern says that telling the difference between seasonal allergies and the common cold can be tricky but there’s one factor that really points to allergies.

“An itch phenomenon tends to be a suggestion of more of an allergic picture,” she says.

The good news for allergy sufferers is there are many treatment options. Dr. Alpern provides an overview of some options on the podcast. She also shares how changing your behaviors can make a huge difference.

“Pollens tend to accumulate in our clothes and in our hair. So [some things] you can do after you’ve been outside is throw your clothes in the wash right away … and also washing your hair … before you go to bed at night.”

Listen to the episode to learn more on how to identify springtime allergies and find treatment that can provide you relief. Topics Dr. Alpern covers include:

If symptoms are new, don’t assume it’s seasonal allergies

“For an adult who never has a history of allergies before and then develops new onset nasal symptoms, not feeling well, congestion, sneezing [and] running nose, I do think you have to be more concerned about an infectious [cause] like the common cold or the coronavirus,” Dr. Alpern says.

If you are experiencing symptoms that could be allergies, a cold, the flu or COVID-19, schedule a video visit with a primary care provider. They’ll listen to your symptoms and concerns, ask questions to understand your medical history and work with you to create a treatment plan, if needed.

If it’s allergies, your doctor may refer you to an allergist. But if you already know you suffer from seasonal allergies and you can’t find relief, you can make an appointment with an allergist without a referral.