When Is Allergy Season That Depends On Your Allergy
You often hear the phrase allergy season, but when is allergy season, exactly? Thats a bit of a trick question. There are allergy seasons that run throughout the year, and whether youre affected at a given time depends on what allergens your body reacts to and when those are in the air.
Learn More About Seasonal Allergies And Allergy Season
Allergies are a common ailment. Each year, over 50 million Americans experience an allergy of some type, and allergies are the sixth most common cause of chronic illness in the United States. They can occur in winter, spring, summer or fallit all depends on what a person is allergic to. Most seasonal allergies, like pollen allergies, are airborne.
Your Monthly Guide To Seasonal Allergy Triggers
Ever wondered how long seasonal allergies last ? The truth is that any season can be allergy season if youre allergic to the right stuff. Whether its tree pollen in early spring, ragweed in the fall, or mold in the winter, every time of year has its own pesky airborne allergen.
So how do you know when to expect the unwelcome arrival of your seasonal allergy symptoms? Well, the first step is knowing what youre allergic to. And the second step is reading this article to find out which months to mark on your calendar.
Here are the biggest allergy triggers in each month of the year, in every region:
Don’t Miss: Allergies Causing Nausea
What Are Common Signs And Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies
An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts negatively to something that would ordinarily be harmless. Allergens are substances that can trigger an allergic reaction, resulting in various symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening, depending on the allergen.
What Should You Do If You Have Seasonal Allergies
- Check the local pollen forecast on a weather website, and avoid going outdoors during peak times like hot, windy days.
- Avoid coming in contact with visible sources of pollen, like plants and flowers.
- Avoid activities with high exposure, like cutting the grass or driving with the windows down. Ask someone to cut the grass for you or consider wearing a pollen mask for outdoor activities.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes outdoors.
- If youve been outside where pollen levels are high, make sure you shower to wash off any pollen and change into a new set of clothes.
- Dont hang your laundry outdoors to dry. Use a dryer instead as pollen can cling to fresh laundry.
- Use an air conditioner or fan instead of opening windows and doors. Change your air conditioner filter often.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.
- If your symptoms persist, see a doctor.
Recommended Reading: Zyrtec Drowsy Or Non Drowsy
What Is An Allergy
An allergy is a multifactorial disease with both environmental and hereditary factors. It occurs when the immune system responds to allergens , resulting in an allergic reaction.
In response to allergens, the immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E , releasing chemicals like histamine into the bloodstream. Histamine helps rid the body of allergens, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itching, hives and watery eyes.Allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms, predominantly in the nose and eyes, to allergens such as dust, animal dander and pollen. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is one of the most common types of allergy, causing an inflammation of the tissues in the nose, often accompanied by conjunctivitis .
Allergies can impact your daily activities and make you feel easily frustrated and tired, but most cases are mild.
When Is Allergy Season Over
Since there is no one answer to the question, when is allergy season?, its also hard to say when allergy season is over particularly when many people with allergies will experience them at different times from one another.
Many people experience year-round allergy symptoms, regardless of when certain allergy seasons start and end.ii, v Allergy symptoms can also be caused by common indoor allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, insects and mold which can be hard to avoid day-to-day.ii If you are only allergic to one type of pollen or mold, however, allergy season may be over for you when that allergen is no longer prevalent.
People who are allergic to indoor allergens have what is known as perennial allergic rhinitis, rather than seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, its possible to have both, and people with the perennial strain can experience more severe allergy symptoms during pollen seasons if they suffer from perennial and seasonal rhinitis.ii
To find out whats causing your allergy symptoms, consult your doctor or an allergist. They can advise you on how best to manage and treat your symptoms during the allergy season that applies to you.
Don’t Miss: Penicillin Side Effects Itching
Should I Take Or Give My Child Over
The over-the-counter allergy medications are both safe and effective. Steroid nose sprays, such as Flonase, Rhinocort and Nasocort, may help your nose and eye symptoms even if you dont have allergies. 24-hour antihistamines, such as Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Xyzal, will also help but typically only if you have allergies. It is safe and considered effective to use a steroid nose spray and 24-hour antihistamine together.
What Allergy Treatments Are Available
Treatments can help a great deal, says Dr. Hsu. Allergy treatment has changed over the past 10 years, with a number of first-line medications now available over the counter, she says. So, while we have lots of consultations with patients, we dont necessarily send a prescription to the pharmacy. We often advise people on what to buybut we want to be very specific, because there are certainly a lot of over-the-counter medications that we would not recommend as first-line treatments.
For instance, she might start with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays for nasal passage congestion, and antihistamine eye drops for ocular symptoms. If a patient is still uncomfortable, she might recommend a decongestant, but not for daily use, since its a medication patients can become overly reliant on. Likewise, some patients should avoid antihistamines that are excessively sedating, she says.
The problem is that some people think theyll just grin and bear it. But… you can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.Yale Medicine pediatric allergist Stephanie Leeds, MD
Its helpful when patients have a skin or blood test to find out exactly what they are allergic to. If you are really symptomatic, its helpful to get tested at least once. I dont think you need to be re-tested year after year, but at some point, establishing the specific triggers can be helpful, because then you can take steps to avoid exposure, Dr. Leeds says.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Robitussin With Allergy Medicine
How To Prepare For Allergy Season
There are many ways that you can get prepped for allergy season, and one of the best ways to start is by reducing your exposure to allergens like pollen.
Discover our simple tips on how to prepare for allergy season from checking pollen reports in your area to dressing for pollen-heavy weather.
If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, however, you can manage them with an effective over-the-counter allergy relief medicine, like FLONASE Allergy Relief Spray. FLONASE relieves your worst allergy symptoms by blocking six of the inflammatory substances produced by your body in response to allergens, while most allergy pills only block one.**
FLONASE relieves nasal congestion, as well as sneezing, itchy, watery eyes*, and runny nose for more complete allergy relief.**
Mechanism vs most over-the-counter allergy pills. FLONASE nasal sprays act on multiple inflammatory substances . The exact number and precise mechanism are unknown. * FLONASE SENSIMIST is indicated for itchy, watery eyes in adults and children 12 years of age and older. ** vs single-ingredient antihistamines which do not treat nasal congestion
For more information on allergy season, watch our quick video below.
i. Seasonal allergies. Nemours Kids Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/seasonal-allergies.html. Accessed 17/07/20.
ii. Allergic Rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis. Accessed 17/07/20.
How Can We Tell If Were In For A Bad Season
An early and hot spring is a bad sign for allergy sufferers, the experts warned.
Last years grass season was probably the worst I can remember. The pollen conditions were bad it was a very hot and humid summer combined with wind. Thats the worst scenario for pollen sufferers, Fischer said.
It also didnt rain for some time. Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall. On days without wind, airborne allergies are grounded. Once the wind picks up again, pollen counts in the air surge.
Geography makes a difference as well: Ontario has the most ragweed, while B.C. sees the most tree pollen.
Recommended Reading: Loratadine For Allergy
Easy Ways To Beat Seasonal Allergies When The Pollen Count Spikes
If your seasonal allergies are making you miserable this spring, you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. The good news is there are measures you can take to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by three main types of pollen: trees, grass, and weeds. They’re called “seasonal allergies” because each type of pollen has a season where they’re most potent. Here’s a general timeline of common pollen seasons:
- Some outdoor molds also peak in the fall months
When you’re monitoring pollen counts for your specific allergy, here are 10 ways to cope:
Pollen counts tend to rise on dry, warm, and windy days, so if it’s breezy outside, try to stay indoors.
Pollen counts are highest in the morning and again at night, so if you need to go outside, try to do it when counts are low.
When it comes to seasonal allergies, it’s important to know exactly what you’re allergic to so you can take appropriate action.
“I have patients who come in saying they’re allergic to pets, then we perform a skin test and it turns out they’re actually allergic to oak trees or another pollen the pet is bringing inside on their fur,” says Erin Willits, MD, an allergist and immunologist at Intermountain Alta View Hospital.
How To Manage Seasonal Allergies At Home
There are many over-the-counter medications you can use to treat your seasonal allergies at home. The most effective options on the market right now are nasal corticosteroid sprays, Azar said. These medications work by gradually reducing the body’s inflammatory response to allergens.
Remember that steroid nasal sprays take a while to produce their maximum effect. So you should ideally start using them before your symptoms appear. “We remind people think about Valentine’s Day as the time to consider restarting your seasonal allergy meds,” Blair said.
Even if you missed that deadline, those sprays are still, “in general, the most effective way to treat nasal allergy symptoms,” Blair added. “But a head start could help a lot.”
Starting early helps avoid another potential problem: clogged nasal passages. “Oftentimes, people will start medications like a nose spray, but by the time , they’re really congested and swollen,” Blair said. “All the tissue within the nose is pretty blocked, and it’s hard to get the sprays to where they need to go.”
Other options include oral antihistamines, such as fexofenadine , loratadine , cetirizine and levocetirizine , as well as antihistamine eye drops and nasal sprays. Depending on which allergy symptoms you experience most, it may make sense to take more than one of those medications, like using a nasal spray or eye drops, as well as taking an oral antihistamine.
Don’t Miss: Will Antihistamine Raise Blood Pressure
Allergies Can Also Progress: Slowly Or Rapidly
Seasonal allergy signs noted in some pets may not remain seasonal for long. As pets age, new allergies can develop over time. In some pets, this progression is quite rapid. In others, the progression may be slow and take years! As the severity of allergy progresses in a pet, they may become less responsive to treatments that worked in the past, or may start having more severe allergy symptoms. Thus, finding and controlling the underlying cause of allergies at a younger age is most desirable.
After all, allergy is an incurable condition. The earlier we can control the signs and stop its progression, the better long term outcomes our pets will have.
Do You Have Seasonal Allergies Or Covid
Having seasonal allergies is annoying at any time, but it creates some challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID out there, differentiating between the two has been difficult,” Corbett said, because there can be some overlap in the symptoms of allergies and a coronavirus infection.
Some of the symptoms can be similar because, with a viral infection, you’re going to have congestion and runny nose,” Azar explained. But there are some ways to differentiate the two conditions, he said.
For instance, despite the nickname “hay fever,” allergies don’t typically cause a fever, Corbett said. So, if you’re feeling congested and your temperature is up, that’s a sign you might have something other than allergies.
Also, if you have systemic symptoms, like body aches or a general feeling of being unwell, that’s another reason to think beyond allergies, Azar said. “Plus, with COVID, there’s some significant problems with people having reduced sense of smell and taste.”
If you have some ambiguous symptoms and you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, it’s definitely worth taking a COVID-19 test just in case.
Don’t Miss: Zyrtec D Non Drowsy
How To Stay Ahead Of Allergy Season
First: If you’ve felt symptoms before but haven’t been officially diagnosed with allergies, it may help to pay attention to those specific patterns. So if you’ve felt lousy for the last few years around March and have experienced the same symptomswhether this is a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, or itchy or watery eyesit’s probably a good call to make an appointment with an allergist before the next allergy season starts.
“If you always think you have a cold in March but remember having three of the same symptoms last year, you may have allergies,” Janna Tuck, MD, an ACAAI spokesperson and allergist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, tells Health.
For regular allergy sufferers, the goal is to prevent allergic reactions before they happen. A few ways you can be prepared for the season is by keeping an eye on pollen counts and, if you’re traveling, to keep an eye on potential pollen counts in your destination town or city.
And, while seasonal allergieswhether they come in the form of a stuffed nose, itchy eyes, or constant sneezingaren’t life-threatening, you can have severe symptoms if you also have asthma.
“Allergy symptoms can be quite severe for asthma sufferers,” says Dr. Tuck. “If you have asthma and have difficulty breathing or are coughing a lot, that’s another important reason to see a specialist, get tested, and get on a good treatment plan that might include regular allergy shotsthe one thing that prevents asthma attacks stemming from your allergies.”
Signs Of Seasonal And Non
When it comes to your pets having allergies, the symptoms normally present themselves as skin irritation or inflammation rather than as respiratory problems. In some cases, symptoms of respiratory problems can and will occur in addition to the dermatitis, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing.
In most allergic individuals, the dog or cats skin will become very itchy, they will scratch excessively, and they may bite or chew at certain areas of their body . They may also rub up against surfaces like furniture or carpet to relieve themselves of the annoying itch. Cats often over-groom themselves, even causing significant hair loss.
As your pet continues to scratch at their itchy parts, their skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch. They may get areas of hair loss, open sores on their skin, and scabbing.
Pets with allergies also usually have issues with their ears. The ear canals will become itchy and inflamed. This reaction either takes part as a generalized allergic response or it will become infected with yeast or bacteria. When infected, the ears will often have a foul odour and discharge.
Another major sign of seasonal allergies in pets to look for is redness of skin. Redness of skin is often due to inflammation, either from allergen contact or from trauma from itchiness, or both. Infection of the skin also adds to redness of skin.
Read Also: Allergic Reaction To Claritin
Common Allergy Season Symptoms
Allergy season symptoms manifest in various ways and degrees depending on an individuals immune system sensitivity. Drugs help to relieve some of these symptoms, while others may require avoiding exposure to the triggers. An individual with hay fever may have one or more of these symptoms.
Itchiness occurs when mast cells, a type of white blood cell in your body, release a chemical called histamine. Itching can be localized in specific areas like the eyes, nose, or skin, or generalized, depending on the region of the body exposed to an allergen.
2. Dry cough
Throat irritation from postnasal drip causes a characteristic dry cough correlated with allergies. Postnasal drip is the flow of accumulated fluid and mucus from the back of the nasal cavity down into the throat.
Wheezing is a whistling sound heard most often in asthmatics or those with hypersensitive airways. The inflow of respiratory allergens causes the release of fluids and mucus that accumulates and blocks small airways in the lungs.
4. Runny nose
Inhaled airborne allergens trigger the production of fluids in the nose that accumulates and drains out of the nose. The nasal secretions are often clear but may appear mucoid.
This is a reflex response because of foreign bodies like pollens, dust, and other air particles in the nose. Sneezing serves as a defense mechanism to expel inhaled airborne allergens, which are nasal irritants.
6. Swollen eyes
7. Sore throat
8. Red eyes