Seasonal Allergies With Changes In WeatherJanuary 4, 2021 11:22 am
The phrase allergy season is one that most people are familiar with, and millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies each year. But the fact is that it’s not just seasonal change that can trigger allergies, but shifts in weather as well. And these can happen at any time of the year!
This is because changes in weather introduce new allergens, or higher concentrations of certain allergens, into the air, triggering reactions in people allergic to those specific allergens. Common causes vary seasonally and regionally—below we take a look at some of the most common weather-related causes of allergy flare-ups, and provide some solutions for minimizing the effects.
Do Certain Weather Events Trigger Allergies?
Yes, absolutely. Just as the change of seasons and the gradual changes in weather that follow can cause allergies to flare up, so can isolated weather events, like wind and rain.
Dry, windy days:
- Gusts of wind can blow pollen and other allergens into the air, causing hay fever and other reactions. If you have a pollen allergy, it’s wise to stay indoors with the windows shut on windy days.
Rainy, humid days:
- Humid, moist conditions are ripe for mold growth, both inside the home and outside. These conditions are also ideal for dust mites, another common allergen. However, damp air weighs down pollen, so if you have a pollen allergy, these days might be better for you. Understanding exactly what causes your allergies will help you avoid reactions more predictably.
- Those with allergic asthma often find that cold air is a trigger, particularly when outside exercising.
- Hot summer days often have the highest levels of air pollution. Since ozone and smog can be triggers for those with allergic asthma, it might be best to stay indoors when possible on days with high air pollution levels.
How do the Seasons Affect Your Allergies?
As we noted, and many know all too well, a change in the season can trigger allergies. Below are some common allergies associated with the transition of seasons. The better that you understand how seasonal weather impacts your symptoms, the better you will be able to prepare for your personal allergy seasons. Since most allergy medications are more effective if taken before the onset of symptoms, this foresight can be very valuable.
Winter into Spring
- Many plants start to release pollen in the spring, including grass. Pollen is a very common allergen, often causing sneezing, congestion and other symptoms.
- Grass pollen levels are generally highest in the late spring and early summer
- Outdoor molds begin releasing allergy-triggering spores in the spring
- Tree pollen also hits a high in the spring, usually in April or May. This peak will come a bit earlier in warmer climates and later in cooler ones.
Spring into Summer
- As noted above, grass pollen usually becomes most prevalent in late spring and early summer. This time of the year will also see a peak in outdoor mold that started to proliferate in the spring. As a general rule, grass pollen and outdoor mold spores usually hit a high point in mid-July.
- Moist air is ideal for mold growth, so those who live in humid areas should be aware that mold can release spores all year long in these conditions.
Summer into Fall
- Another very common allergy trigger, ragweed, releases it’s pollen between the end of the summer and the first frost of the fall. In most of the United States, ragweed pollen hits a high in September.
Fall to Winter
- As temperatures drop, pollen tends to calm down in most regions. But because we usually spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder, those with indoor allergy triggers, like dust mites, pet dander, and mold, may notice their reactions flare-up in the winter. If you are unsure of what triggers your allergic reactions, talk to an allergy specialist about testing to identify what causes your allergies to flare up.
What Can You Do To Reduce Seasonal Allergies?
One thing you will notice here is that allergies don’t always time up neatly with the seasons, and there are a lot of different factors that contribute to the timing and severity of an individual’s allergies. If the substance you are allergic to is in the air, you will experience your allergies, regardless of the season.
However, remaining aware of the weather conditions that bring about your allergies will help you prepare, and preparation is the name of the game when it comes to allergies. You can’t avoid the weather, but you can find workarounds to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
- Keep An Eye on the Weather Forecast:
- This includes checking regularly on pollen and mold counts in your area, and taking note of ozone action days. On days when levels of your allergen are high, try to spend less time outside.
- Stay Prepared
- If you experience allergies around the same time every year, do your best to get ahead of it by asking your doctor if you can start your allergy medication around two weeks before the usual onset of symptoms. Starting medication before your allergies begin is usually the most effective.
- Control Your Environment
- There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but you can take steps to control the environment within your house. An air filter designed to remove allergens and contaminants from the air may be a good move, as is a dehumidifier to help stave off mold growth and dust mites.
- Accurately Diagnose Your Allergies
- Talk to your doctor or allergy specialist about your symptoms and when you experience them. They will likely perform an allergy skin test which can pinpoint exactly which allergens trigger your symptoms.
- Once you’ve nailed down what the cause is, your doctor will be able to run you through possible immunotherapy treatments, whether it’s allergy shots, tablets for under the tongue, nasal steroid sprays like Flonase, or other solutions.
Call us today to talk to an allergy specialist and make a plan to prevent or reduce your next flareup!
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This post was written by CJ Urgent Care of NJ