Utah (ABC4) — As Utah transitions into spring, sunny days will make their return and so will unwanted allergens.

According to the University of Utah, 30-35 percent of people will develop allergies at some point in their lives. Many plants in Utah cause allergies in the spring, from trees to grasses. According to A-Z animals, spring is one of the worst allergen times for people who live in Utah.

Among the spring allergens, trees are a large culprit. Many trees in Utah engage in springtime pollination including maples, birches, poplars, ashes, walnuts, junipers, mesquite, cypress, oak, elm, and cedar. Grass pollens and snow mold found on grass are also more prominent in the spring.

Common Allergy Symptoms

The following allergy symptoms due to spring allergies are common in Utah:

  • watery nasal mucus
  • cough
  • congestion
  • sneezing
  • headaches
  • scratchy or itchy throat
  • itchy inner ear
  • burning, teary, itchy, or puffy eyes
  • hives
  • increased asthma symptoms

How do you get tested for allergies? You can visit a local allergist and they may perform one of four tests on you: patch testing, skin prick test, scratch test, or a blood test.

Patch testing is used to diagnose delayed allergic reactions to certain items like perfume, latex, or metals, the University of Utah Health stated. A delayed reaction could exhibit itself as a rash, a blistering reaction, swelling on your skin, redness, and swelling in your mouth.

Skin prick and scratch tests are used to see if you have an immediate skin reaction allergy. They can test plants, trees, pollen, mold, pet hair, and foods. If you do a skin prick test, your allergist will make a small prick in your skin with a need and apply allergens to the pricks. These tests are often done on your back or your upper arm and results are often found within 15-20 minutes.

You can also receive a blood test in which the allergist will take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab to test allergens there. This method usually takes several weeks to return results.

Tips for Limiting Pollen Exposure

How can Utahns fight these allergies? A-Z animals give us the following tips for limiting pollen exposure.

  • If the pollen count is high, spend as much time as possible indoors.
  • During the spring when pollen count and other allergens are high, you can keep windows and doors shut to keep allergens out. Running the air conditioner also helps seal the door to keep pollen out.
  • During the height of allergy season, avoid going outside as much as possible, however, if you wish to go outside, the pollen count is usually lower at night.
  • You can install a HEPA filter to help filter out allergens.
  • Once you spend time outside, you can take a long hot shower as soon as you come back inside to decrease allergens.
  • During allergy season, vacuum, dust, mop, and wash clothes more often.
  • Take off your shoes before coming inside to avoid tracking pollen through the house.

Allergy Intervention and Medications

Avoiding allergen triggers can be helpful, but for many, it’s not enough. Many over-the-counter medications assist in short-term treatment such as antihistamines, eye drops, decongestants, and nasal sprays.

If your allergies are getting the best of you after you have tried all other options, you can ask your allergist about allergy shots. Your allergist will administer shots over a period of time, usually several years with small doses of your specific allergens to help you build immunity.

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, allergy shots help the majority of people who get them. This does not mean your allergy symptoms will stop altogether, but rather it can decrease symptoms and reactions for many allergies.

For more information on allergens in Utah, you can visit this interactive pollen allergy map, which will show you the levels of pollen in your area.