Skip to main content

Seasonal Allergies

When stopping to smell the flowers causes you more discomfort than delight, it may be time to see an allergist about your seasonal allergies. Different allergens are produced throughout the year, so you're not alone if you can't catch a break from seasonal allergies.

Request an appointment

Reasons for your allergies each season

Seasonal allergies are your respiratory system’s way of saying it doesn’t like types of pollen or molds. Your allergies will intensify throughout the year in response to the changing seasons. People with seasonal allergies tend to become most affected from early spring through early fall.

  • March through June: Tree pollen is usually in the air
  • Early June through summer: Grasses start to pollinate and give off pollen
  • Late summer through early fall: Mold is found outdoors

Summer is a common time of year for sinus and ear infections because many plants and trees depend on the wind to carry odorless and colorless pollen for pollination.

Meditating with eyes closed, hands on heart and breathing in the spring air while outside.
Find a doctor near me


Seasonal allergy symptoms can vary, but keeping a tissue box nearby is a good idea. Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose and congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing

Seasonal allergies can sometimes trigger asthma, which may require different medications or even emergency medical attention.



Your care team will use all the tools at their disposal to figure out what's causing your seasonal allergies and how to treat them.

Skin testing is a go-to diagnostic for fully understanding your seasonal allergy triggers.

Your doctor can also perform a blood test to measure your immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to specific allergens. Your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from harmful substances like allergies. If we see you have higher IgE levels, that could be a sign that your body reacts more intensely to certain allergens.



Two of the most common ways we can alleviate your seasonal allergies are with the right mix of medications and desensitization therapy. The good news is that many seasonal allergy medications can be purchased over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. And should you be looking for more long-term relief, desensitization therapy can gradually build your tolerance to different allergens.


Antihistamines are over-the-counter medications that are commonly taken to treat seasonal allergies. They're often combined with a decongestant (pseudoephedrine) and can vary in potency. Some antihistamines are considered sedatives, which will make you feel sleepy. Your doctor may also prescribe antihistamines for you in certain situations.

Your doctor can also prescribe corticosteroid nasal sprays. If you have a combination of asthma and seasonal allergies, your doctor may review different inhaler options for you.


We often recommend desensitization if you are commonly in high-risk situations or if you find yourself in areas where medical attention is not readily available. Medical trials show that desensitization is effective and will prevent serious allergic reactions for most people.

So, how does it work? Desensitization therapy helps you become less sensitive to an allergy by receiving injections of the allergen over 12 weeks. Your doctor will gradually increase your weekly dosage to make you less sensitive to your allergy.

It's common to receive maintenance doses for 3–5 years before completely wrapping up your desensitization treatment plan. 



What nasal sprays should I avoid?

While many over-the-counter nasal sprays are available at your local pharmacy, the vasoconstrictor (blood vessel narrowing) category should be avoided because they can cause nasal congestion if used regularly. Talk to your doctor about how to best treat your seasonal allergies.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
Our locations

From regular office visits to inpatient stays, find the healthcare you need and deserve close to home.

Family physician Sarwada Tuladhar Jha, MD talking to patient during exam at a clinic appointment and inputting health information at the computer.
Our doctors + care team

Meet the doctors and care team devoted to supporting you every step of the way along your path to better health.

Understand what you may pay for care at Tufts Medicine with our price estimate tool.

Jump back to top