spring seasonal allergy

Buckle up, seasonal allergy sufferers. AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert predicts this season will “be intense and prolonged.” For many in New Hampshire, that means an extended season of sneezing, itchy-watery eyes, and runny nose. Fortunately, Dr. Amit Kumar of Southern New Hampshire Asthma and Allergy has suggestions for surviving the season.

What can we expect for the spring allergy season in New Hampshire?

Predictions for the 2024 spring/summer allergy season offer mixed news for the three main seasonal allergy categories: tree, grass, and weed pollens. Each allergen comes in its own wave. Knowing which allergens affect you can help you plan ahead and manage symptoms. We can expect each wave to begin at least three weeks ahead of normal this year. AccuWeather predicts:

Tree pollen: Peak in late May/early June- above average
Grass pollen: Peak in July- below average
Weed pollen: Peak in August- above average in southern NH, average in the rest of the state
Spring Seasonal Allergy Forecast

Source: AccuWeather

Who is at the highest risk for seasonal allergies?

Dr. Kumar explains that those with food allergies, eczema, or asthma often also have seasonal allergies. “When people have some of those other allergic states, they are more prone to allergies. Also, those with family histories where mom and dad or siblings have allergies tend to carry a bit higher genetic risk for developing some of those symptoms.”

What’s the best way to treat seasonal allergies?

The first step toward treating seasonal allergies is determining what you are allergic to. Allergy testing is the gold standard for isolating causes of seasonal allergies. The specialists at Southern New Hampshire Asthma and Allergy can guide you through that one-visit process. Then, Dr. Kumar recommends a three-step approach.

Step 1: Try an over-the-counter long-acting, non-sedating antihistamine (Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra) and/or nasal steroid spray to control symptoms.

Step 2: Your provider may prescribe a nasal spray called Montelukast which blocks another part of the allergic cascade.

Step 3: If the above medications do not manage your symptoms well enough, allergy shots desensitize your system over time and make you less allergic to the allergens. Allergy shots are a big commitment. They require weekly visits for almost eight months and then monthly for a period of time.

                                    Southern NH Asthma & Allergy
Are there allergy medications to be avoided?

Certain over-the-counter nasal sprays like Afrin or oxymetazoline are topical nasal decongestant sprays. Those are unsafe to use for more than three days at a time because they can be habit-forming.

What environmental steps can we take?

There are simple things you can do to make your environment more seasonal allergy-friendly.

  • Keep the windows shut when the pollen is blooming.
  • Run an air conditioner to clean the pollen out of the air.
  • Use a HEPA filter air filtration system for the bedroom.
  • Take a shower after being outdoors.
  • Towel or rinse off pets when they return inside.

As seasonal allergy sufferers gear up for what is predicted to be an early and prolonged season of discomfort, it’s crucial to prepare ourselves with the right knowledge and tools. Dr. Amit Kumar’s insights are a great place to begin. For more about seasonal, bee, and food allergies, check out Dr. Kumar’s podcast episodes on Your Wellness Solution Podcast or make an appointment at Southern New Hampshire Asthma and Allergy.