At an appointment with an allergist, he or she will ask many questions about your medical history and perform tests to determine which allergens trigger your seasonal allergies. Skin tests and blood tests are the most common forms of allergy testing.

Skin Prick Test

  • To find out if your body produces antibodies that react to a specific allergen
  • A needle is used to place a tiny amount of allergen just below the surface of the skin on your lower arm or back.
  • If you are allergic to that allergen, there will be swelling or redness at the test site.

Blood Test

  • To measure the levels of specific antibodies to allergens, such as pollen and mold, in your blood
  • Antibodies to a specific allergen in the blood indicate a possible allergy to that allergen.

Common Medications and Treatments for Seasonal Allergies

Antihistamines

  • Oral medications or nasal sprays that relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes and reduce swelling and drainage in the nose
  • Some have side effects, such as drowsiness and loss of alertness and coordination
  • Available in eye drops for eye allergy symptoms

Nasal corticosteroids

  • Nasal sprays that prevent or reduce inflammation in the sinuses and nasal passages

Cromolyn sodium

  • A nasal spray that helps prevent allergic rhinitis from starting by blocking the release of body chemicals that cause allergy symptoms

Decongestants

  • Oral medications that shrink nasal passages, which helps relieve congestion, swelling, and general discomfort in the sinuses and nose

Allergy shots

  • A series of injections containing small doses of your allergen, allowing your body to build up a natural immunity it

In addition, people with seasonal allergies can take the following steps to minimize contact with their seasonal allergens when possible.

Allergic rhinitis

  • Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.

Eye allergy

  • Wear sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim to reduce the amount of allergen that lands in the eyes.
  • Apply saline eye drops after being outdoors to wash allergens out of the eyes.

Mold allergy

  • Limit outdoor activities when mold counts are high.
  • Avoid uncut fields and raking leaves.
  • Take a shower after coming indoors to wash mold spores out of your hair.