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Nearly one-third of American adults struggle with seasonal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The number is only slightly lower for children.

Seasonal allergy symptoms — ranging from itchy eyes and a scratchy throat to breathing problems and hives — are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. But because there are no effective seasonal allergy remedies that can cure the problem, millions of people must find ways to manage their symptoms.

That means, when seasonal allergies are in full swing, call offs at work tend to increase.

Discovery Health Services is committed to helping create the healthiest workplaces possible across all industries. Whether we’re designing a wellness program tailored to your staff or vetting skilled medical professionals to fill out your work roster, the health and well-being of your employees and your business are our main goals.

Our experts have put together some information on seasonal allergy causes and a starter list of seasonal allergy symptoms. Plus, because many of us at DHS belong to that third of Americans struggling with seasonal allergies, tips for managing the most common symptoms are included.

Seasonal Allergy Causes

Ever wonder whether seasonal allergies are contagious? We can say definitively that they are not. That’s because the main cause of seasonal allergies is your own immune system.

An allergy is a disproportionate immune response to a foreign substance that doesn’t bother most people. The main seasonal allergy causes are pollen from trees, weeds and other plants that waft through the air in spring, summer and fall — thus the term ‘seasonal.’ Other common allergies can be caused by foods like peanuts and shellfish, materials like latex and drugs like penicillin.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Because seasonal allergies are an immune response, the symptoms they provoke vary widely. Some allergy sufferers may experience mild cold-like symptoms while others have great difficulty functioning at all. Many find that prescription medications are the only seasonal allergies prevention that works for them. It is unclear why seasonal allergies affect some but not others, and it’s often quite difficult to predict how long seasonal allergies will last — or when they might suddenly appear.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms. Notice that a fever, chills and body aches are not among them, as those are symptoms that indicate the common cold, not seasonal allergies.


Also known as a stuffy nose, swollen nasal passages can make it difficult to breathe.

Itchy Eyes and Throat

Allergens like pollen trigger the cells in our eyes to release histamines, which cause that itchy, watery sensation that’s usually accompanied by redness.


Seasonal allergies put your immune system on 24/7 overdrive. This overactive response causes your entire system to feel overtaxed, which is why you’re likely to feel wiped out for as long as your seasonal allergies last.

Coughing and sneezing

Pollen and other allergens often enter our bodies through the mucus linings of our noses and throats. They irritate those linings, causing a tickle that triggers sneezing and coughing.

Wheezing or Shortness of Breath

Some allergens can cause the immune system to tighten your airways and make it difficult to breathe. The wheezing and shortness of breath that ensue are often referred to as allergic asthma.

Skin Rashes

Though less common than other allergy symptoms, a rash-like inflammation of the skin may be another manifestation of the immune response to seasonal pollen. It can look scaly like eczema, blistery like dermatitis or swollen like hives, but it’s almost always red and itchy.


Seasonal allergies cause a lot of swelling in the nasal passages, which can cause mucus build-up and prevent normal drainage. The resulting headaches are one of the more common seasonal allergy symptoms.

Weathering Seasonal Allergies: Tips for Feeling Better

No matter which seasonal allergy symptoms you struggle with, you have the power to improve them. Here are some of our fave tips for weathering the storm of seasonal allergies:

Change Your Routine

The silver lining of seasonal allergies is their predictability. Once you know which types of pollen trigger your immune response, you can change your routine to mitigate your symptoms. Start by keeping track of pollen count forecasts. During peak times, consider these strategies:

  • Stay indoors
  • Keep windows closed
  • Shower before going to bed
  • Avoid hanging laundry outdoors
  • Where a face mask when you venture outdoors

Change Your Diet

While there’s no cure for seasonal allergies, a focus on eating healthy can boost your immune system and help build a stronger defense against common seasonal allergy causes. Adding probiotics or yogurt that contains live cultures to your diet is a great start. Also consider trying foods that contain natural antihistamines, like onions and green tea. And sweeten that tea with local honey because it contains pollen from your area, which helps train your immune system to recognize it as friend rather than foe.

Change Your Air Filter

One of the best seasonal allergy tips is to keep pollen out of your house by stepping up your air filtration game. Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your heating and air conditioning system as a strong first defense. Keep the windows closed, especially in times of high pollen counts. And consider investing in an indoor dehumidifier, which helps nix moisture-loving allergens by drying out the air in your home.

Boost Your Immune System

Because seasonal allergy symptoms are an overactive immune response, a solid strategy for keeping them at bay is to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Getting regular exercise, eating lots of fresh foods, drinking ample water and maintaining a solid sleep routine all support a strong immune system. Also, staying up to date on recommended immunizations and supplementing your diet with vitamin B injections can give your overall health an extra boost.

Keep Your Meds Up to Date

If you have a history of seasonal allergies, prevention is key to avoiding debilitating symptoms. Keep current on your prescription medications and take them as soon as possible when high pollen conditions are forecast. Fortunately, the recent rise in corporate clinics makes it easier for many workers to see doctors and get prescriptions filled without taking time away from their jobs.

HTry OTC Remedies

There are a lot of over-the-counter seasonal allergy remedies available at drugstores and pharmacies. Be sure to consult a doctor if you’ve not experienced seasonal allergies in the past before taking OTC meds like antihistamines or decongestants. Drug-free options that can alleviate swelling in your nasal passages include the Neti pot irrigation system, ice packs and a moist heating pad.

Amp Up Your Wellness Services With Discovery Health

Looking for seasonal allergies prevention strategies to keep your workforce going strong all year? Reach out to Discovery Health today for info about on-site flu shots and wellness clinics. Your team’s health and well-being is our top priority!