Do you get a runny nose and itchy, water eyes every summer? What you have is not a summer cold. You have allergies. According to the CDC, over 24.4 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergies peak in the spring when plants drop most of their pollen, but the summer season has unique allergens that affect many people.
As most US regions heat up with summer’s arrival, people are beginning to suffer from summer allergies. Although allergies are typically associated with spring and fall because pollen is most active during those months, many people experience allergies in the summer. The same allergens cause summer allergies as in other seasons. Summer allergy symptoms are often confused for a summer cold and may even be mistaken for COVID -19.
Allergens Due To Grass, Pollen, or Ragweed
The most common summer allergy trigger is grass pollen, which fills the air on warm, humid, windy days. The most common type of grass that causes allergies are:
- Kentucky Blue Grass
- Johnson Grass
- Timothy Grass
- Rye Grass
- Bermuda Grass
At the beginning of the summer, those allergic to tree pollen and grass pollen tend to suffer most because there are two elements in the air that they are sensitive to. Grass allergies are prevalent since grass pollen is light and moves from place to place with the wind, rather than being carried by insects, such as bees and pollen. This makes it easy for people to breathe it in and develop allergies. Due to the warmer climates in the Southern US, summer allergies are typically worse because warmer temperatures have a more extended pollination season.
Other Summer Allergens
Mold is another allergen for many. People who are allergic to mold react when they breathe in the mold spores that travel through the air. Although mold spores are in the air all year round, from July to early fall, people suffer most due to the humidity in the air. In the summer, mold allergies are at their highest due to humidity and moisture. Indoors, mold typically grows in damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or basements. Outdoors mold may grow on logs, fallen leaves, compost piles, and grass.
Summer allergy symptoms include:
- Runny nose and congestion
- Itchy red, watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
In the summer, air pollution and humidity drive the allergy numbers up. According to one study, people with allergies are more likely to suffer from the effects of pollution, which may trigger asthma attacks or the onset of chronic asthma.
Relief Options: Although you can’t cure an allergy, you can treat the symptoms until you are no longer exposed to your trigger. The best treatment would be to limit your time outside so you are not exposed to the pollen in the air. A good tip is to check the weather app on your phone or mobile device and see the air quality. Another thing to do is to track the pollen count and if it’s high, then limit your time outdoors.
OTC Medications: sometimes, you may need a combination of medications to relieve your symptoms, but you should check with your primary care physician first. If these medicines don’t do the trick, your doctor can prescribe stronger allergy relief medications.
- Antihistamines include Benedryl (episodic), Claritin, or Zyrtec (daily).
- Decongestants, this line of medications reduces nasal congestion and provides relief for stuffiness. Sudafed and Flonase are two decongestants recommended for allergy sufferers.
- Nasal Spray, such as Afrin, can alleviate nasal congestion.
At Longevity Care Clinic, we know how difficult it is to deal with seasonal allergies. We offer a variety of unique approaches to relieve allergies, which are not common in Western Medicine, such as auricular acupressure. Visit us and learn about the different treatments that can ease your symptoms so you can enjoy the outdoors this summer.