Spring is filled with flowers, green grass, and for some…sneezing, wheezing and runny eyes and noses! The most likely cause of spring allergies is tree pollen. However, mold and animal dander can also be contributing.

How can you know for sure? Get allergy tested. If your doctor can pinpoint the cause of your symptoms, the therapy can be tailored to what you need. Treatment could involve allergy shots or medications that can help you to avoid a lot of grief.

How can you tell the difference between allergies and a cold? Both can cause a runny nose and eyes, but a cold usually has fever, aches and pains associated with it and it usually ends within about ten days. How can you avoid allergies? You might want to avoid the heavy pollen times, which are the early morning and late afternoons, by staying indoors. Use your air conditioner and air filters (HEPA) and keep the windows closed. Wash your clothes if you have been outside and use the dryer. That will help filter out the pollens from your clothes.

If you can\’t avoid pollen, you may need to try medications with your doctor\’s blessing of course. There are many over the counter antihistamines now that include Benedryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. They block the histamine reaction that is triggered by pollen. Decongestants such as Sudafed will dry up your nasal congestion. Steroid nasal sprays will reduce inflammation.

Often people with allergies will also have asthma. This may result in wheezing, shortness of breath and can have deadly consequences. That is why it is important to have your allergies assessed and treated by your doctor.

Dr. Robin Miller's career as a physician has been quite varied. She currently serves as the medical director of Triune Integrative Medicine, a highly innovative Integrative Medicine clinic in Medford, Oregon. She is also a medical reporter for KOBI Channel 5, the NBC affiliate in Medford. She has produced the award-winning health series, “Is there a Doctor in the House,” which is shown on the GE-sponsored Patient Channel nationwide. She is a medical columnist for The Daily Courier in Grant's Pass, Oregon, and the host of a teen health podcast. Robin has written the book Kids Ask the Doctor and the book Confessions of the Soul Straight from the Heart.