Skip to content
1200 x 630

Understanding Michigan Springtime Allergies: It’s More Than Just Sniffles

At HAP, we're well aware of the breathtaking beauty Michigan unveils each spring. The season breathes new life across our state, with tulips painting landscapes in vibrant hues and maple trees stretching from their winter rest. Yet, this rebirth also marks the start of allergy season, a time that can challenge our health beyond just the sneezes and runny noses often associated with it. These common allergy symptoms barely scratch the surface of how allergies can truly impact our well-being, highlighting the complex ways our bodies react to allergens such as pollen. As we embrace spring’s splendor, let's also prepare for and manage these seasonal allergies with the care and attention our health deserves.

“We know that spring allergies could keep getting worse for individuals, and that seasonal allergies don’t always manifest as a runny nose and sneezing. Therefore, it’s important for people to discuss their allergies with their doctor ahead of time, as they tend to worsen with age. According to the CDC, climate change could lead to higher pollen concentrations and longer pollen seasons, resulting in more individuals experiencing adverse health effects from pollen and other allergens.” - Dr. Charles Bloom, SVP, Chief Medical Officer

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says springtime can exacerbate symptoms for allergy sufferers. Pollen, the invisible irritant, not only triggers nasal discomfort but also impacts other body parts. Misleadingly termed “hay fever,” these allergies involve neither hay nor a fever and extend well beyond nasal symptoms to itchy eyes, red itchy eyes, and even dry itchy eyes. For people with asthma, pollen can escalate their condition, leading to tighter airways and more inflammation. This progression, often referred to as the “allergic march,” highlights the potential shift from nasal allergies to asthma symptoms.

Skin health is also at stake during spring. Conditions like eczema, an inflammatory skin issue, can flare up due to pollen and other environmental allergens. This underscores the necessity of a holistic approach to managing allergies symptoms.

Eye allergies, or Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC), add to the complexity, with symptoms like itching, redness, and watery eyes often occurring alongside nasal issues. This emphasizes the need for integrated care strategies.

In addition to the allergy symptoms already mentioned like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, red itchy eyes, dry itchy eyes, and the impacts on conditions like asthma and eczema, there are several other common allergy symptoms that individuals may experience, including:

  • Congestion: Feeling of stuffiness or a blocked nose, often leading to difficulty breathing through the nose.
  • Postnasal Drip: Sensation of mucus moving down the back of the throat, which can cause coughing or throat clearing.
  • Cough: Often triggered by postnasal drip or a tickle in the throat, a persistent cough can be a symptom of airborne allergies.
  • Itchy Throat or Mouth: Allergic reactions can cause a tingling or itching sensation in the mouth or throat.
  • Swollen, Blue-Colored Skin Under the Eyes (Allergic Shiners): Allergies can cause changes in blood flow near the sinuses, leading to dark, swollen areas under the eyes.
  • Fatigue: Allergies can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to a feeling of tiredness or fatigue due to poor quality sleep.
  • Headache: Particularly sinus headaches, which are often associated with allergies due to congestion and sinus pressure.
  • Shortness of Breath or Wheezing: In some cases, allergies can cause the airways to narrow, leading to wheezing or difficulty breathing, particularly in those with allergic asthma.
  • Skin Rashes: Hives (urticaria) or eczema (atopic dermatitis) are skin conditions that can be triggered by allergies, leading to red, itchy, or swollen skin.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Food allergies can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Anaphylaxis: A severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can affect multiple body systems, leading to symptoms like difficulty breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and swelling of the throat and tongue.

To tackle allergies effectively, recognizing symptoms and seeking appropriate medical advice is essential. Treatments such as antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, and bronchodilators play a crucial role in alleviating the discomfort of spring allergies. Simple measures, like keeping windows shut and maintaining skin moisture, can also offer relief.

Consulting with your primary care physician or allergy for the creation of a personalized treatment plan that pinpoints your specific allergens and suggests effective solutions, such as allergen immunotherapy, which gradually decreases sensitivity. HAP members benefit from a wide network of specialists, ensuring easy access to expert care for their seasonal allergies. For more information and to find a doctor near you please visit HAP's Find-A-Doctor Tool. Categories: Get Healthy , Get Involved , Get Moving