Valentine’s Day…when a young man’s fancy turns to…nose sprays. At least, it should, if he has springtime allergies!

The spring allergy season in Nashville begins in earnest in March, when trees begin pollinating. Because of the very large amount of pollen produced during a short time window (trees typically are done producing pollen for the year in April), early spring is a highly symptomatic time for many allergy sufferers.

If your symptoms have been out of control during previous springs, if you were to pick one medicine that is most likely to be helpful, it would be a nasal steroid spray. Over the counter examples include Flonase, Nasacort, and Nasonex. Nasal steroids have consistently outperformed other types of allergy medication (for example, antihistamine pills) in a variety of studies. However, they do not work overnight and are not good for as needed use. Typically, they require 2 or more weeks of continuous usage to reach full benefit. Given that tree pollen is out by early March in our area, this means starting a nose spray by mid-February in order for it to be fully on board by the time spring allergy season begins.

If your allergies typically get out of control this time of year, we can help. Allergy testing is very helpful to determine which allergens are driving your symptoms, which guides avoidance advice and opens the option for allergy shots to retrain your immune system to tolerate your triggers. In other cases, patients with prominent springtime symptoms are not sensitized to allergens, but rather have vasomotor rhinitis, meaning that their symptoms are triggered by air quality, scents, shifting weather patterns, and other non-allergic triggers. Treatment for this is somewhat different, and again, testing is key in order to determine what are your most important triggers.

Having an enjoyable spring, without uncontrolled nose and eye symptoms or severe sinus
infections, should be an achievable goal for everyone. We would be happy to work with you to help you feel your best this time of year. In the meantime, show your nose some love this Valentine’s Day, and start that nose spray!