Now Reading
A Complete Guide to Managing Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

A Complete Guide to Managing Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Are you constantly battling sneezing fits, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes? If so, you might be one of the millions with rhinitis. Have you never heard of rhinitis before? It is commonly known as environmental allergies, hay fever, pollinosis, or allergies, but basically, we are saying something is making my nose uncomfortable. The medical term for nasal inflammation is rhinitis, which includes sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, and post-nasal drip. 

An uncomfortable nose can significantly impact your quality of life, but with the proper knowledge and planning, you can effectively manage your symptoms throughout the year. This is why we are breaking down how to manage your rhinitis: once you know your triggers, you can manage it successfully throughout the year. 

This post is part of our Knowledge is Power Program, in collaboration with Allergy Insider. Here is our free downloadable patient information sheet on managing seasonal allergic rhinitis Use this as a tool and share it with your Healthcare Provider (HCP) to help guide your discussions in the shared decision-making process. 

The difference between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis

Rhinitis can happen year-round or seasonally. To help figure out when your rhinitis is happening, you need to know that there are two categories of rhinitis: 

  • Allergic rhinitis: This is triggered by an allergic reaction to inhaled substances like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold. When you breathe in an allergen, your immune system overreacts, causing inflammation in your nose.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis: Unlike allergies, this type is caused by irritants other than allergens. Smoke, dust, strong odors, or changes in temperature or humidity can all trigger nonallergic rhinitis. It can also be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy or menstruation. 

You can have one or even fall into both of these categories. It is important to identify your triggers because you will know how to manage them best yearly. Trying different medications to control symptoms can be frustrating, and there are more elegant solutions to help determine the best way to treat your symptoms.

Identifying your triggers can be done via blood testing for allergies to figure out whether you are experiencing allergic rhinitis or non-allergic rhinitis. The second part is to keep a journal and track when your symptoms get worse. This way, you will be able to plan for next year. 

Now, let’s break down how to plan for seasonal allergic rhinitis throughout the year. We will not focus on allergens such as pets; instead, we will consider what happens in the environment during the different seasons. 

Non-allergic rhinitis may not be seasonal and can persist throughout the year. Triggers such as indoor air pollutants, strong odors, changes in temperature or humidity, and hormonal fluctuations can lead to persistent or recurrent symptoms regardless of the season.

Some tips below address these annual symptoms and are not exclusive to helping with allergic rhinitis. For instance, consider pollution, like environmental allergens, and check the smog levels like you would pollen. 

Managing Seasonal Rhinitis in the Spring

A new season means new plants! Spring is often associated with increased pollen levels, especially from trees and grasses. 

Planning for Springtime Allergic Rhinitis: Get to your HCP early and ensure you have the correct medications to help alleviate your rhinitis symptoms. You may need to start some medicines a few weeks before your allergens bloom. 

When the weather starts to warm, be it February or March, the moment I think buds will appear, I rush to stock up on all of my spring allergy medications. Starting a nose spray a few weeks before pollen descends has saved my nose from being blown one too many times!

-Kortney, Zestfull Co-founder
  • Use data to decide when and what to do when being outside. Monitor pollen counts and stay indoors when levels are high. Use a great app to add in your specific allergens: 
  • Level up spring cleaning by deep cleaning your home to remove dust mites and mold spores, especially in bedrooms. Renting a professional-grade carpet cleaner takes it up a notch!
  • Protect yourself while the pollen flies by wearing sunglasses and a hat outdoors, or even try a mask. 
  • If not all year round, we suggest prioritizing the use of HEPA filters in your home in the spring. If you only have one, bring it with you from room to room. 

Preparing for Next Spring Allergy Season: Keep a journal and note especially bad days. Record pollen counts. This will help you pinpoint what to watch out for next season and how to better time when to start medications.

PRO TIP: Do you have a dog? Did you know that dogs also bring pollen into your house? After a walk, give your puppy a wipe or brush before entering the house!

Managing Seasonal Rhinitis in the Summer

While pollen levels may decrease in some regions during summer, other triggers, such as grass pollen, weed pollen, and outdoor mold spores, can still cause symptoms for allergic rhinitis. Additionally, exposure to outdoor allergens during activities like gardening, camping, or outdoor sports can exacerbate symptoms.

Planning for Summertime Allergic Rhinitis: If you haven’t seen your HCP to help identify all of your potential triggers, this may be a good time before life becomes more hectic with school and work after vacation season.

  • Keep checking that data and limit outdoor activities during peak pollen times.
  • Shower and change clothes after being outdoors when the pollen count is high.
  • Keep windows closed and use air purifiers to reduce indoor allergens. Avoid hanging clothes outside to dry.
  • Grass not your friend? Outsource garden work or do it on days when pollen counts are low. If all else fails, wearing a mask will help protect you and make sure to wash your hands and face afterwards. 

Preparing for Fall Seasonal Allergies: If you are interested in immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, fall is an excellent time to prepare for spring allergies. Use summer to set up the proper appointments needed to start immunotherapy treatment. Bring our patient information sheet on seasonal allergic rhinitis with you as a starting point for discussion with your clinician: 

PRO TIP: Complete Allergy Insider’s Allergy Symptom Questionnaire before your appointment and take it with you to help facilitate a conversation with your HCP.  

Managing Seasonal Rhinitis in the Fall

Fall comes with its own allergic rhinitis triggers, such as ragweed pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. As temperatures drop and people spend more time indoors, exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and indoor mold may increase, triggering or worsening rhinitis symptoms.

See Also

Planning for Fall Allergic Rhinitis with a Focus on Asthma Peak Week. Preparation for the fall season is critical, especially during the famous ‘asthma peak week’, when allergens and viruses come together to create the perfect environment for asthma exacerbations. Check out this information on allergen threshold to learn more.

BE PROACTIVE: Before school starts, those viruses will start circulating even if you don’t have kids. Check-in with your HCP and ensure all your medications are up to date. 

  • Rake leaves promptly to prevent mold growth. Consider wearing a mask and gloves during this activity. 
  • Dust regularly, especially in bedrooms, to manage dust mite populations. Consider using a humidifier to prevent dry indoor air as heating systems come on. Keep indoor humidity levels below 50% to discourage mold growth and combat dust mites.
  • Don’t stop allergy medications too early, especially if ragweed is a trigger. 

Managing Seasonal Rhinitis in the winter 

Indoor allergens become more prominent during winter as people spend more time indoors with heating systems running. Dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments created by indoor heating, while indoor mold can increase in damp areas. In addition to indoor triggers, cold air can irritate the nasal passages and exacerbate rhinitis symptoms in the winter.

  • Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-50%. A humidifier can help prevent dry indoor air, which can help a dry and congested nose, but controlled enough not to let molds thrive. 
  • Use saline nasal rinses to soothe nasal passages. This may help alleviate nasal congestion and soreness caused by too much nose-blowing.
  • Wash bedding regularly using hot water to remove dust mites.
  • Check for dampness in your house, which can cause mold to grow.

Prepare for the Year Ahead

If you know that you will experience allergic rhinitis in the upcoming year, this is the best time to head to your HCP to discuss allergy testing and pinpoint your triggers. 

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your allergic rhinitis symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life throughout the year. Every individual’s experience is unique, so working closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized rhinitis treatment plan is essential.

Download our patient information sheet to feel more empowered and bring it to your next appointment as a starting point for discussion. Proper management and planning allow you to control your rhinitis and live well year-round.

This article is part of the #KnowledgeisPower program, sponsored by Allergy Insider. Our downloadable patient information sheets are not intended as direct medical advice but as a starting point for discussion with your doctor.

The tips and stories in this program are personal experiences from patients shared with their permission. Gary Falcetano, PA-C, AE-C Scientific Affairs Manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific, has medically reviewed and approved all resources.

The Zestfull Corp. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

© 2021 Zestfull. All rights reserved.

Scroll To Top