A person can experience seasonal allergies throughout the year. The main allergens are pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses. Variations in mold allergies can occur throughout the year.
Understanding the peak seasons for outdoor allergens can help individuals better prepare and manage their symptoms.
The types and levels of outdoor allergens will vary by state due to regional climate, local flora, and environmental conditions.
This article provides information on the more prominent allergens throughout the seasons. It also provides insights into precautions and treatments for people seeking relief during allergy flare-ups.
The months that are typically worse for allergies vary depending on the location and specific allergens involved. In general, spring and fall tend to be the peak seasons for allergies in many regions of the United States.
During spring, especially from March through May, tree pollen is a common trigger for allergies. As trees bloom and release pollen into the air, people with allergies may experience symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion.
Grass pollen can become an issue during late spring and early summer, further exacerbating allergy symptoms for some individuals.
In the fall, ragweed pollen is a major culprit for seasonal allergies. Ragweed plants release large amounts of pollen from August to November, depending on the location.
The months that are typically the best for allergies also vary depending on the geographical region and local plants. However, during the winter months, pollen allergies appear to be less prominent.
During winter, cold temperatures and frost help suppress the growth and release of allergens such as pollen. This reduction in airborne allergens can provide relief to people who are sensitive to them.
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Each region has its unique mix of allergens that can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals:
- Pacific Northwest: The Pacific Northwest has a cool and wet climate. The region is filled with evergreen trees. The most common pollen comes from the Cupressaceae family, including cedar, juniper, and cypress, making up 37% of the pollen.
- The Great Lakes region: The Great Lakes region has cold winters and humid summers. The area has various land types, including farms, forests, wetlands, and glacial lakes. About 81% of pollen comes from trees. Weeds make up 13% of the pollen, and grasses make up the remaining 6%.
- South-central part of the Great Plains: The south-central part of the Great Plains has hot and dry summers, with rainfall happening in the spring. The region used to have a lot of grasslands, but now it is mostly crops and areas for grazing. The lowest amount of pollen is in July. The peak is from late March to late April, when the most common type of pollen comes from Quercus trees.
- Central California: Central California has a warm and pleasant Mediterranean climate. The region is usually dry and gets most of its rain in winter. The area has a mix of chaparral shrubs, grasslands, and oak forests. About
94%of pollen comes from various trees, with elm and olive trees being the most common.
- South: In the South, tree pollen can be prominent in January as well as spring. It can also peak throughout the year. Grass pollen can appear throughout the seasons.
For more specific information, a person can check pollen counts in their region using The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology’s online tool.
During allergy flare-ups, taking certain precautions can help alleviate symptoms and minimize discomfort. These include:
- Limiting exposure to allergens: Keep windows closed to prevent pollen or outdoor allergens from entering your home. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove allergens from the indoor air.
- Wearing a mask during high exposure: Wearing a pollen mask while doing yard work or outdoor activities can also help reduce exposure to airborne allergens. Wrap-around glasses can also help protect eyes from pollen.
- Bathing after outdoor activities: Taking a shower and washing your hair after spending time outdoors can help remove pollen and allergens from your body and prevent them from settling on your bedding or furniture.
- Using appropriate allergy medication: Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines can help alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose. Nasal sprays can provide relief from congestion, and eye drops can help soothe itchy and irritated eyes.
Consulting an allergist or immunologist may be beneficial for severe or persistent allergies.
They can provide a comprehensive evaluation, recommend allergy testing, and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Treating seasonal allergies involves a combination of preventive measures and symptom management.
There are three parts in managing seasonal allergies, which include:
- Avoidance measures: A person can take steps to minimize exposure to the allergen by taking precautions.
- Pharmaceutical options: OTC antihistamines can help alleviate sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. Nasal sprays may relieve congestion, and eye drops can help soothe itchy and irritated eyes. If OTC medications are ineffective, a doctor may prescribe stronger antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or other medications to manage symptoms.
- Immunotherapy: In cases of severe or persistent allergies, allergen immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, may help.
Seasonal allergies can be a source of significant discomfort and disruption in daily life. The timing and severity of allergies can vary by location and specific allergens.
Spring and fall are generally the worst months for allergies, as tree, grass, and weed pollens are prevalent. Winter and late summer or early fall can offer some relief, with reduced levels of certain allergens.
Allergens vary by state and are influenced by climate, regional flora, and environmental conditions.
It is important to take precautions during allergy flare-ups, such as minimizing exposure to allergens, bathing after being outside, and seeking medical advice for appropriate treatment options.