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What are Seasonal Allergies?

It happens at the same time every year, without fail—you get cold-like symptoms. But maybe it’s not a cold—maybe it’s a seasonal allergy. A seasonal allergy is a result of coming into contact with something that you’re allergic to that’s only around during a specific time of the year. A common example is pollen season.

Seasonal allergies are sometimes called seasonal allergic rhinitis or more commonly known, hay fever (although they have nothing to do with hay or fevers). They are also sometimes called outdoor, fall, or spring allergies.

Seasonal Allergy

Common Seasonal Allergy symptoms

Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Stuffed-up nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watering eyes
  • Red, itchy eyes and/or swollen eyelids
  • Itchy throat
  • Swelling of the mouth/airways

Your symptoms can change from day to day, depending on the weather. High humidity can make mold grow quickly, while pollen counts surge when it’s warm and windy. If you have wheezing and shortness of breath in addition to these symptoms, you might have allergies that trigger asthma.

Season Allergy Questions

If you suffer from these symptoms every year, you’re probably interested in what will stop them more than what’s causing them. But you may not be able to find relief until you receive an accurate diagnosis.

For a better consultation with your healthcare professional, here is a list of questions to help guide your conversation and maximize your time.

Get the questions >

Seasonal Allergies vs. Common Cold

A common cold has similar symptoms to seasonal allergies. However, a reaction to a cold is caused by a virus, while a reaction to an allergen is the result of the the immune system responding to a substance it has deemed as a threat. Learn more about head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat symptoms here


when is allergy season?

Allergy seasonality depends on where you live and what, exactly, you're allergic to. For example, tree pollen can begin to release early in the year, depending on the climate and location. Grass pollen can reach peak season during the summer, while weed pollens can rise in the fall. 

Why don't I have symptoms all of the time?

You may think that pollen causes your symptoms, but other allergic triggers may be involved, too. In fact, 80% of people with allergies are allergic to more than one thing.1 Everyone has their own unique combination of allergic triggers and not all of them are obvious.

You may experience mild reactions to several things, but they are so small that you don’t notice them on their own. But when you encounter multiple things you’re allergic to at the same time, all of those small reactions can add up to the point where you start having symptoms.2,3

Determining if you have allergies and identifying your allergic triggers can help you stay below the point-your symptom threshold-where you start sniffling and sneezing.

Learn how your allergies can add up >

Allergy graph
Am I Allergic?

How do I find out what I'm allergic to?

How do you know if your seasonal symptoms are caused by an allergy or not? Testing can help your healthcare professional determine what may be behind your endless sneezing and sniffles, so don’t try to manage the problem on your own.

A simple blood test—together with medical history—can help identify underlying allergen triggers, if you have an allergy. Knowing if you’re allergic and what you’re allergic to can help you, or a loved one, avoid or minimize symptoms.


Benefits of blood testing

Experience the comfort and convenience of an online diagnosis from a healthcare professional directly from your phone.


  1. Ciprandi G, et al. Characteristics of patients with allergic polysensitization; the polismail study. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 40(3); 2008: 77-83.
  2. Wickman M. When allergies complicate allergies. Allergy. 2005;60(Suppl 79):14–18.
  3. Burbach GJ, et al. GA2 LEN skin test study II: clinical relevance of inhalant allergen sensitizations in Europe. Allergy. 2009;64:1507-15.