In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early. A rainy spring can also promote rapid plant growth and lead to an increase in mold, causing symptoms to last well into the fall.
While the timing and severity of an allergy season vary across the country, the following climate factors also can influence how bad your symptoms might be:
- Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
- Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
- Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
- Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
- On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded.
- When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.
- Moving to another climate to avoid allergies is usually not successful — allergens are virtually everywhere.Other plants that trigger fall allergies include:
- The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere, but especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November. In many areas of the country, ragweed pollen levels are highest in mid-September.
- Burning bush
- Sagebrush and mugwort
- Tumbleweed and Russian thistleKnow your triggers. You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well. More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms. An allergist can help you find the source of your suffering and stop it, not just treat the symptoms.
- Work with your allergist to devise strategies to avoid your trigger
Seasonal Allergy Management and Treatment
- Monitor pollen and mold counts. Weather reports in newspapers and on radio and television often include this information during allergy seasons.
- Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season.
- Stay inside midday and during the afternoon, when pollen counts are highest.
- Take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
- Wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors, and take appropriate medication beforehand.If you have a history of prior seasonal problems, allergists recommend starting medications to alleviate symptoms two weeks before they are expected to begin
Seasonally Related Triggers
- While the term “seasonal allergies” generally refers to grass, pollen and mold, there is a different group of allergy triggers that are closely tied to particular seasons. Among them:
- One of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies linked to pollen is immunotherapy (allergy shots). These injections expose you over time to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.
- Your allergist may also recommend one or more medications to control symptoms. Some of the most widely recommended drugs are available without a prescription (over the counter); others, including some nose drops, require a prescription.
- Smoke (campfires in summer, fireplaces in winter)
- Insect bites and stings (usually in spring and summer)
- Chlorine in indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Candy ingredients (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter)
- Pine trees and wreaths (Thanksgiving to Christmas)
If you suffer from allergies, contact any of our physicians today for an appointment! Or, visit Hospital Drive Pharmacy to pick up some allergy medicine!