Can You Develop Allergies Later In Life Answering Your Spring Questions
But the exact seasonal patterns vary depending on where in the country you live. For instance, if you’re in the South, you might experience spring and tree pollen season a little earlier than the rest of the U.S., Corbett said. And some allergens are known to be particularly severe in certain areas, like the “cedar fever” that plagues areas of Texas and Oklahoma, Blair added.
Contrary to popular belief, though, the colorful flower blossoms we see in the spring aren’t a major cause of allergy symptoms. Pretty things dont typically produce a lot of airborne pollen, Corbett explained. Thats why they have the insects the bees that pollinate them.
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.
Plan Time Outdoors Wisely
Many popular weather apps and websites provide allergy forecasts or pollen counts. On the National Allergy Bureau website there is a list of more than 80 stations throughout the United States that provide more detailed daily pollen updates based on different species of plants. You can select the station closest to you and receive notifications for the particular pollen allergy you have.
Pollen counts tend to be at their highest between early morning and midmorning, as well as on hot, dry, windy days, Dr. Chong said. If you can exercise indoors during those times or run errands later in the evening, you will reduce the amount of pollen you inhale, she added.
If you are prone to allergy symptoms and have to go out in the morning or do yardwork, wear a high-quality N95 mask the kind you may already have for protection against the coronavirus. This will help filter out pollen.
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When Is Pollen Season Over
According to Comprehensive Allergy NYC, most of the spring and summer pollen allergies usually die down around September or October. Tree pollen, which can start as early as February, is usually gone by May, but grass pollen might persist through the high temperatures of July and August.
Fungus and mold spores often begin to churn up just as grass allergies begin to come to a close. At the same time, weed pollen begins to rear its ugly head. As the winds rise and the fall starts to roll in, molds, weeds, and fungus begin to take root in our slowly dying garden beds and piles of leaves. Ragweed, the most common fall allergy, might even continue into November and the effects and spread of that pollen might be made worse by particularly wet or windy autumns.
Allergy Season : Why Your Symptoms Are Worse Than Ever
Many people with seasonal allergies are struggling right now, trapped in a vicious cycle of coughing, sneezing, wheezing and itching.
If this sounds like you, you might be wondering whats going on. Is this allergy season particularly brutal, or do your symptoms just seem worse because you were inside and not exposed to many allergens in spring 2020? Or is it all in your head?
According to allergists, its not just you. Its true your allergies may feel worse this year. Heres the deal and how to find some relief:
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When Does Allergy Season 2022 Start
Some allergens, like pollens, are seasonal. Tree pollen pops up in the spring , grass pollen arrives in the late spring , while weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to fall , says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network.
But if you’re one of the unlucky few whose allergies last basically all year round, there are a few other factors to consider. First, your seasonal allergies could be combining with your body’s reactions to indoor allergens like dust mites or animal dander, notes Dr. Ogden. You may also be bringing outdoor allergens into your homeyou can actually collect pollen and grass on your shoes, on your clothes, or even in your hair.
As a result, you may continue to experience symptoms even after allergy season is officially over, all the way from February to November. So pretty much every season except winter.
And climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Specifically, the season has been arriving 20 days earlier than it did in 1990, and contains at least 20 percent more pollen, the New York Times reported.
How Long Do Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Last
Different seasonal allergens spike at different times of the year, so when you can expect to feel your typical allergy symptoms depends on what you’re allergic to.
Spring allergy symptoms usually start around March when tree pollen is the main offender, Corbett said. That season typically lasts through April, he said. Then comes grass pollen season, which goes from May through the summer. Finally, from late summer through October is prime ragweed season.
So, if you’re someone who is allergic to more than one or even all of these pollens, you might experience so-called “seasonal” allergy symptoms for a large chunk of the year. “Some of our spring allergy sufferers really are having problems from late winter to early summer,” Dr. Courtney Jackson Blair, past president of the Greater Washington Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society and practice owner of Allergy and Asthma Associates, P.C., told TODAY.
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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,” , an ACAAI spokesperson and allergist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, told 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,” Dr. Tuck said. “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.”
Quick Tips For Allergy Prevention
- Keep your windows closed as much as possible.
- Wash your face after you get home from being out and about.
- For even more protection, change your clothes in a separate room when you come back inside.
- Consider an air conditioner for dehumidifying indoor air .
Tips sourced from Boston Medical Center allergy specialist Dr. Frederic Little.
“Allergy sufferers who are allergic to trees will sometimes be confused, because our trees are still bare here in the New England area there may be some snow on the ground even and they’re starting to have allergy symptoms,” Little said, adding those symptoms are indeed kicking in for some in our area.
Things will unfortunately only get worse from here as we approach peak tree pollen between the end of April and late May. With that in mind, we asked Little for tips to cope with the season:
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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 Nasacort, may help your nose and eye symptoms even if you dont have allergies. The 24-hour antihistamines, such as Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Zyrtec and Xyzal, will help but typically only if you have allergies. It is safe and effective to use a steroid nose spray and 24-hour antihistamine together. So, yes, even if youre not sure, it is safe to give these medications a try to see if they will help.
How Long Does Pollen Season Last
As winter melts away into spring, the days become longer and sunnier. Trees, plants, and shrubs that have spent all winter bereft of leaves are using the newfound head and stored energy to grow and change. It is around this time in the Northern Hemisphere, around March or April, to be precise, that the pollen season officially starts. In most temperate areas, this season lasts up to seven months.
According to the Cleveland Clinic and the expertise of allergist-immunologist David M. Lang, MD, pollen seasons come in different stages. For instance, tree pollen generally begins in March or April, while grass pollen arises in the middle of May, and ragweed shows up from August on.
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Climate Change And The Pandemic Are Playing A Huge Role
Year over year, were finding climate change is a major factor in worsening symptoms for spring and fall pollen seasons, said Kenneth Mendez, the CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The rising temps and increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are making pollen seasons heavier and longer. Allergy season is now 10 days longer than it was in 1990, and trees, grass and weeds are producing 21% more pollen. More pollen means more runny noses, watery eyes and itchy throats.
Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in pollen counts on a yearly basis, and this is due to global warming and an increase in CO2, which we know plays a role in higher pollen counts, said Payel Gupta, an allergist and immunologist and medical director of the at-home allergy clinic Cleared.
The recent warm weather were seeing this year and in the past few years is to blame. Plants bloom in warm weather, then tree, grass and weed pollen pick up and fly into the air around us.
In the past, warm weather didnt appear until April or so, delaying pollen-producing plants from blooming. But its been getting warmer earlier year after year. Some areas in the Northeast saw 70-degree days as early as January this year. On top of that, the first freeze we typically see each fall is happening later in the year. Mendez said this keeps flowering pants like ragweed a major source of allergies alive and well.
The Line Between Allergies And Covid
As an allergy clinician who has also treated COVID patients in Boston Medical Center’s intensive care unit, Little said he’s become accustomed to questions even from friends and acquaintances about whether allergy-like symptoms spell something more severe.
“I can assure you that there have been thousands or hundreds of thousands of home antigen tests for COVID that have been burned through with people who wake up in the morning with a scratchy throat, a little bit of a runny nose, and have this question, ‘Oh, my goodness, is this it?’ ” Little said.
Despite some overlap, Little said there are specific signs you can monitor to hopefully stop yourself from spiraling.
“It’s pretty uncommon to have a fever with the onset of allergy symptoms during the season,” he said. “And also, some people with COVID will tend to have a lot more fatigue. Allergy sufferers can have some fatigue. But if people really feel completely run-down, even if they’re not super sick, that would suggest that reaching for that home COVID test might be the right idea.”
The CDC adds body aches and loss of taste or smell aren’t usually linked to allergies either.
When in doubt, it may be worth a test for added peace of mind, Little said. Because the last thing we want to do is jeopardize each other’s health and safety or elevate our own stress levels.
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Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
Now that you are equipped with a seasonal calendar and knowledge of common allergens, you can prepare for allergy season 2022. Wearing a mask when outdoors will effectively prevent inhaling spores and pollen granules. You could also refer to a physician to know your actual allergies and take appropriate preventive measures. Take your allergies seriously, and you might do good on making 2022 your healthiest year yet!
I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.
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General Tips And Advice For Airborne Seasonal Allergies
The mainstay of the management of allergy, to reiterate, is AVOIDANCE of provokers of allergy. Medications, whether preventive or curative, are the second line of management.
Sufferers of allergy due to airborne allergens are also advised to closely follow weather reports . Weather forecasts give information about expected temperatures, humidity, cloud cover and in some cases, windspeed and even pollen counts. Weather forecasts are now widely available on the internet, TV, radio and newspapers.
The living environment should be cleared of known or suspected offending agents as best as possible. But it must be known that some airborne allergens such as grass pollens can still trouble an allergy sufferer even if they are cleared in the vicinity. This is because wind can carry this allergens from sources as far as 12 km away!
Pollen counts are highest in the early morning to mid-morning hours. It is therefore best to avoid at all costs, being out in the open during these hours. Otherwise an allergic person would need to take extra protective measures such as medication.
Pollen counts are generally lowest at night. So where personal physical safety is not an issue, this is the safest time to venture outside during peak allergy season. Leaving doors and windows open at night is not advisable though, as dust and pollen can enter and settle in the house.
Allergy sufferers must always cover their noses and mouths when sweeping, dusting or vacuuming houses.
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When Does Allergy Season Start
These months differ between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. And even in one hemisphere, there are variations from region to region, and from country to country.
* Grass Pollens
The grass pollen count is highest in Summer and Autumn. This equates to October to March in the Southern Hemisphere, and April to September in the Northern Hemisphere. But the danger of grass pollen related allergy symptoms starts all the way from Spring to Autumn.
* Tree pollens
These begin to rise significantly in Late Winter and Spring, which equates to July to October in the South, and January to April in the Northern Hemisphere.
* Fungi and Molds
The danger is most significant in Late Summer to Autumn.
Global warming has caused higher temperatures and decreased humidity, which favours high pollen counts in the air. Rain and other sources of atmospheric moisture, make pollens heavy and thus unable to float in the air. There is also, due to climate change, an increase of pollen spewing plants globally.
* Wind is very important for the dissemination of aero-allergens such as pollen and dust. In the past, strong winds were characteristic of the beginning of Spring e.g. August in Southern Africa. However, climate change has made the wind pattern very unpredictable, with strong gusts occuring in almost any month of the year.
Mold Spores More Problems
Besides pollen, patients may also become sensitized to airborne mold spores.Molds are much more numerous in ambient air than pollens, Dr. Lang notes, and there are molds that are present in high amounts in damp, rainy conditions. More importantly, though, warmer weather can be a particularly bad time for mold.
There are molds that peak on days of maximum heat and humidity. So later in the summer, particularly from mid-July to early-September, is when the mold count gets very high, he says.
This can make a bad combination for many people who are allergic to both one or more pollens and molds. Thats a common pattern, Dr. Lang says, that people will have these symptoms year-round and have a peak of symptoms in the spring and summer.
Many of the patients Dr. Lang sees, he says, are polysensitized, or allergic to multiple allergens. Sometimes well see people with classic symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis that occur seasonally such as mid August through the frost, and we know its likely from ragweed.
But, more frequently, we see people with year-round symptoms and there are peaks in the warmer times of the year. But then we may find on skin testing theyre sensitized to pollens and molds, as well as dust mites and cat or dog dander.
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