Seasonal allergies are a group of conditions that can cause unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms of seasonal allergies can include stuffy nose, runny nose, or sneezing a lot, itchy or red eyes, sore throat, or itching of the throat or ears and waking up at night or trouble sleeping, which can lead to feeling tired during the day.

Symptoms occur usually at certain times of the year. Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollens from trees, grasses, weeds or grains or mold spores in humid damp weather. Year-round symptoms are usually caused by insects, animals such as cats or dogs or mold.

Symptoms can be reduced by over the counter medications:

Nose rinses – Rinsing out the nose with salt water cleans the inside of the nose and gets rid of pollen in the nose.

Steroid nose sprays – Doctors often recommend these sprays first, because they are the best treatment for stuffy nose.

Antihistamines – These medicines help stop itching, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms.

Antihistamine eye drops – They can help with eyes that feel itchy or gritty.

Decongestants – These medicines can reduce stuffy nose symptoms. People with certain health problems, such as high blood pressure, should not take decongestants.

Allergy shots – Some people with seasonal allergies choose to get allergy shots. Usually, allergy shots are given every week or month by an allergy doctor.

Talk with your provider about the benefits of the different treatments. The right treatment for you will depend a lot on your symptoms and other health problems. Prevention includes avoiding the allergens and starting treatment early.

For more information call Brenda Rick, Family Nurse Practitioner, at CHI St. Francis Health, 218-643-0747.

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