Illustration by Stories for Freepik

Springtime in Washington brings forth beautiful things — the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and the University of Washington cherry blossoms, to name a couple — but it also brings dreaded seasonal allergies for many.

Seasonal allergies can happen any time of the year, but the primary offender is pollen. And in Washington, there is quite a bit of it floating around during springtime. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI), roughly 7.8 percent of U.S. adults have seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever.

For many, seasonal allergies are a mild annoyance — something to power through with the help of antihistamines. However, allergies can come at a steep price, totaling about 4 million missed workdays per year and $8 billion in annual costs, according to the Allergy and Asthma Network.

Dr. Olabode Akinsanya, family practice physician at Overlake Clinics — Primary Care Issaquah, shares the ins and outs of seasonal allergies, and what you can do to feel relief this sniffly and itchy season.

What are seasonal allergies, and what are common causes?

Seasonal allergies are a manifestation of the body’s overreaction to a particular substance (called the trigger or allergen) in the environment during a particular period of the year.

What are some of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms?

Sneezing, runny nose, coughing, redness, itching and tearing of the eyes, wheezing, itchy throat. Can seasonal allergies diminish or increase over time? They likely stay the same or worsen. This is because the body already has produced antibodies to the triggers.

What are some tips to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms?

Avoid triggers. Use antihistamines (oral, eye drops if necessary), intranasal steroids, etc. You also can change furnace filters and use air purifiers. What are some alternative medicine treatments? Alternative treatments help with symptom relief but not the underlying cause of allergies — eucalyptus oil, mint tea, and steam can help with opening up the nasal passageway.