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6 Things Only People with Allergies Will Understand

A list of allergy symptoms that can turn spring into a terrifying season. 

Spring: A Curse and a Blessing

It’s that time of the year again: spring, the season of hope and new beginnings. For some, however, it’s the season of despair, and those beautiful, blooming flowers can only mean one thing: it’s allergy season. Lots of people struggle with allergies, and the first whiff of pollen will have them running for the hills.

Unfortunately for this demographic, the allergen forecast for 2015 does not look good. New York Magazine has predicted a “Pollen Tsunami” caused by high levels of winter precipitation, a late spring bloom, and record temperature highs this summer.

This is virtually a nightmare for anyone with allergies, and people should expect higher pharmacy sales and traffic as Americans stock up on Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec in anticipation of the season’s horrors.

As the American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology points out, allergies come from “allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.”

So what are the absolute worst effects of allergy season? What symptoms will have you hiding indoors, covering yourself in blankets, and attempting to hibernate until fall? Here are one reporter’s seven worst allergy symptoms, paired with examples of what you might have to deal with if you’re one of the unlucky few who suffer from allergies. 

Six Terrible Symptoms

1. Itching

One of the worst, as well as the most universal allergy symptom is — you guessed it — itching. What could be worse than going on a nice date on a spring afternoon, soaking up the sun in your local park with a potential romantic companion, and all of a sudden feeling a nasty itch creep up your arm?

Suddenly, you’re beset by the unbearable urge to scratch yourself until the excruciating pain stops. What’s distressing is that scratching won’t help cure the discomfort — only antihistamines will do the trick. And it only gets worse.

2. Headaches

Headaches are “caused by nasal congestion,” says the ACAAI. They make you cranky and irritable, they’re distracting, and they’re often nearly impossible to get rid of. While Advil, Tylenol, or Aspirin might help ease the effects, medicine can only go so far. Be prepared to excuse yourself from the dinner table so that you can quietly cry in a corner, because allergy headaches are downright awful.

3. Snoring

All that congestion means you probably won’t be able to breathe out of your nose, which also means you’ll have to start breathing out of your mouth, and eventually, you’re going to start snoring. People won’t want to sit near a creepy mouth-breather, let alone sleep next to one.

The sniffles are perhaps the most subtle, yet infuriating of allergy symptoms — whether you’re the serial sniffler or just in the vicinity of one. Having a stuffed-up nose is no fun, especially when it’s for an entire season. The ACAII explains how this symptom can come from either “outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees, and weeds,” or “indoor allergens, such as pet hair or dander, dust mites and mold.”

4. Sneezing

Be sure to have Kleenex on hand at all times, because you’re about to become a snot machine. You’ll probably set personal records for how many times you can sneeze in a row — why not keep track and try to beat your own record?

5. Swelling

Beyond your red, scratchy eyes, you might also have to worry about your face swelling up to enormous proportions. Surprise — swelling doesn’t look good on anyone. But don’t worry: according to, allergies are just “your body's defense system (the immune system) overreact[ing] when defending itself.”

6. Pharmacy Bills

Perhaps the worst thing of all is the fact that anytime one of these many symptoms emerges, you’ll be sprinting to the medicine cabinet to grab a new pill or some anti-itching cream to help you. Be ready to make friends with your local pharmacist — and to drop half of your paycheck on pills. For tips on environmental control, the ACAAI has some great recommendations for keeping your allergy symptoms at bay.

If devouring medicine isn’t your thing, consider one of Rabbit Air’s high-quality air purifiers — they’ll protect you from the hazards of allergy season and give you some clean space to breath in. An air purifier might be your best bet against misery and social exile.

Best of luck, my fellow allergy sufferers. This spring, you’re going to need it.

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