Spring Allergies

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment 

Often called hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis, spring allergies commonly occur from February to early summer (may vary depending on location) and can cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and more.1

What Causes Spring Allergies?

Common spring allergy triggers can range from pollen and mold to insect bites. You have to first be exposed to an allergen to become allergic to it.2,3 If an allergy develops, your body will produce IgE antibodies as an immune response because it thinks the allergen is an invader, causing your allergy symptoms.2

Tree & Grass Pollen

Maple and oak tree pollen as well as Kentucky blue, rye, and timothy grass pollen are examples of the common types of pollen seen in spring, however the types of trees and grass that bloom and cause symptoms may vary by region.


Mold, also called mildew, can be found outside on plants and in water, as well as inside in places like the bathroom and kitchen. With spring comes rain, and rain creates the perfect damp environment for mold spores to prosper.

Insect Venom

Insects with venom, such as bees, wasps, and red fire ants, are most common towards the end of spring with blooming flowers and warmer weather. An allergic reaction to insect venom can be severe and may lead to anaphylaxis.

Can rain cause allergies?

It’s not possible to be allergic to rain, however, the updrafts and downdrafts from springtime rain showers can concentrate allergens and sweep them into the clouds. There, lightning and high humidity breaks them down into more easily inhaled particles released during downpours, causing allergy symptoms.4

Spring Allergy Symptoms

Ranging from mild to severe, allergy symptoms seen in the spring can occur while indoors or outside.

Common spring allergy signs and symptoms include:

Congestion Watering eyes
Itchy Nose Red or swollen eyes
Runny nose Itchy throat or eyes
Sneezing Difficulty breathing

Spring Allergy Testing and Management

Getting tested for spring allergies and managing spring allergy symptoms go hand in hand. To help find relief from allergy symptoms, you first have to know what may be causing reactions.

How Do You Get Tested for Spring Allergies?

One of the most common ways to get tested for allergic sensitization is to speak to a healthcare provider about specific IgE blood testing, which measures the amount of allergen-specific antibodies in your blood. Depending on the levels of different antibodies, a healthcare provider can help you understand the potential cause of symptoms.

doctor talking to patient

Tips to Help Manage Spring Allergies

Spring allergy symptoms arise after you’ve been exposed to enough specific allergens that your “symptom threshold” is breached.6 If you can reduce exposure and keep yourself below your symptom threshold, you may not experience symptoms, even while allergens are floating around.6

Here are some helpful ways you may reduce exposure to spring allergens after getting testing and discovering what you may be allergic to:6-12

Tree & Grass Pollen

Shower after working outside

Stay indoors when pollen counts are high

Keep windows closed at home

Use a HEPA air filter


Clean moldy areas with bleach

Use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity at home

Fix water leaks

Remove carpet from bathrooms and basements

Insect Venom

Avoid open garbage cans and exposed food

Inspect open drinking cups and straws when outdoors

Keep vehicle and home windows closed

Hire a professional to remove hives or nests

For more in-depth exposure reduction tips for each type of allergy, check out these Allergen Fact Sheets.
mother and daughter gardening

Spring Allergies Can Be Managed

Antihistamines may not always be the best option if you haven’t confirmed you’re allergic with the help of a specific IgE test.

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In fact, in one study, 65% of people with allergy symptoms who used antihistamines were actually not allergic, meaning they may be wasting money and time trying to find relief.13

Speak to your healthcare provider about getting specific IgE blood testing to gain clarity into what is causing symptoms in spring and optimize your search for relief.

Resources for healthcare providers

Specific IgE testing for spring allergies

Healthcare providers, click below, to learn more about how specific IgE blood testing can help in diagnosing seasonal allergies.

Practice parameters and guidelines

View practice parameters and guidelines for allergic rhinitis you may see in patients during spring allergy season.

Girl with inhaler with father and hcp

Allergen Encyclopedia

Explore our allergen encyclopedia, an easily shareable, patient-friendly resource that includes information on which pollen might be causing seasonal allergies as well as how they may impact food allergies and influence patient management plans.

1. “Seasonal Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” ACAAI Public Website, 7 Nov. 2022, acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/seasonal-allergies/

2. Yoo Y, Perzanowski MS. Allergic sensitization and the environment: latest update. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2014 Oct;14(10):465.

3. Cox L, Williams B, Sicherer S, Oppenheimer J, Sher L, Hamilton R, Golden D; American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Test Task Force; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Specific IgE Test Task Force. Pearls and pitfalls of allergy diagnostic testing: report from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology/American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Specific IgE Test Task Force. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Dec;101(6):580-92.

4. Robert H. Shmerling, MD. “Thunderstorm Asthma: Bad Weather, Allergies, and Asthma Attacks.” Harvard Health, 22 June 2022, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/thunderstorm-asthma-bad-weather-allergies-and-asthma-attacks-202206222766.

5. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, Third Expert Panel on the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Bethesda (MD): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (US); 2007 Aug. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7232/

6. Wickman M. When allergies complicate allergies. Allergy. 2005;60 Suppl 79:14-8.

7. Matsui, E, et al. Indoor environmental control practices and asthma management. American academy of pediatrics. 2016

8. Eggleston PA. Control of environmental allergens as a therapeutic approach. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2003 Aug;23(3):533-47, viii-ix.

9. Roberts JR, McCurdy LE. Environmental Management of Pediatric Asthma Guidelines for Health Care Providers. Washington DC: National Environmental Education Foundation ; 2005.

10. Ogg B. Cockroach Control Manual. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska; 2006.

11. Mayo Clinic staff, 2022, April 27. Seasonal allergies: nip them in the bud. Mayo clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343

12. Dykewicz MS, Wallace DV, et al. Rhinitis 2020: A practice parameter update. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Oct;146(4):726.

13. Szeinbach SL, Williams B, Muntendam P, O'Connor RD. Identification of allergic disease among users of antihistamines. J Manag Care Pharm. 2004 May-Jun;10(3):234-8.