Do you experience allergies year-round? Or, do your allergies seem to flare up for just a few months out of the year?
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, skin rash, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes, among others. You may associate your symptoms with “allergy season,” but what does that mean? Many people think that “allergy season” only occurs in the spring months when pollen is in the air. In reality, however, there is no one single “allergy season” that applies to all people with allergies. It really depends on what you are allergic to and where you live.
Someone with an allergy to tree pollen may experience allergy symptoms during the spring or summer when pollen is more prevalent, while someone with an allergy to dust mites may experience more symptoms during the cold winter months when more time is spent indoors. Your symptoms are related to exposure.
Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of when you’re most likely to come into contact with certain allergens:
January: Indoor allergens are more of a problem during the winter because more time spent inside your home also means increased exposure to things like dust mites, pet dander, and mold. You can reduce your exposure by eliminating these allergens from your home by keeping humidity below 40%, washing your bedding in hot water, and regularly vacuuming and cleaning your home. (Tip: your should use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.)
While it is relatively rare, some people may also experience cold urticaria, which is an allergic reaction to cold temperatures. It can cause hives, redness, swelling, and itching after you’ve been exposed to the cold.
February: Indoor allergens may continue to aggravate your symptoms in February. It is also possible to see tree pollen popping up around the U.S. in this month, even in the colder Northeast. Allergy symptoms may be caused by pollen from alder, maple, hickory, elm, and walnut trees, among others. Cedar trees also pollinate in the winter months (December through March). Tree pollen can cause the same allergy symptoms that are common in “spring allergies,” such as sneezing, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes.
March: With winter beginning to transition into spring, pollen will become more of an issue in March. In addition to tree pollen, pollen from weeds and grasses may also be an issue if spring comes early. Make sure you load up your favorite pollen tracker app onto your phone when March rolls around! Knowing the pollen count can help you plan your daily activities in an effort to reduce exposure to allergens (ex. exercising outdoors when pollen counts are low).
April: Make sure to make an appointment with your allergist and stock up on medications before April rolls around if you have a pollen allergy – April is the height of pollen production for many trees, grasses, and weeds. This can leave many people with seasonal allergies feeling pretty miserable. Remember to keep your windows closed to avoid letting airborne allergens into your home.
May: Tree and grass pollens are still a concern in May. You may also start to see more insects out and about, so stay alert if you are allergic to insect stings or bites.
June: Grass pollens like bermuda, oat, and rye are in full effect in June and can be affected by environmental changes, such as temperature and rainfall. If you haven’t experienced any symptoms from grass pollen yet, it’s likely you may start noticing symptoms during this month. As the temperature warms up you’ll probably want to spend more time outside, which means increased exposure to pollen. (Remember to check your pollen tracker app before you head outside.) You can avoid bringing pollen into your home by taking your shoes off at the door and changing your clothes as soon as you get inside. It’s also a good idea to shower before you go to sleep to avoid bringing pollen into your bed.
July: The month of July brings some good news with it: grass and tree pollen levels should start to reduce. Unfortunately, however, weed pollen may still be an issue and fungus and mold spores start to make an appearance. Mold spores can be found in damp environments, so check your bathroom and basement for any collected moisture or leaks.
August: Mold levels will begin to peak due to the hot, humid weather. Ragweed season also begins during mid August and it can be a difficult pollen to avoid – it has been found two miles into the atmosphere and 400 miles out at sea! The best course of action is to take your medications and avoid exposure.
September: Weed pollens continue to be a problem for allergy sufferers in September, and ragweed will reach its peak in the middle of the month. A single ragweed plant can produce billions of grains of pollen and some of that pollen might be around until the first frost of the season.
October: You might get some relief from your fall allergy symptoms during October, but there are still allergens hanging around. Increased rainfall can cause a growth in the production of mold spores.
November: Here’s something to be thankful for in November: ragweed season is on its way out! November is one of the better months for people with outdoor allergies as pollen levels decline during this month. However, as things get chillier and you once again start to spend more time indoors you’ll have to cope with mold, dust, and pet dander.
December: As in November and January before it, indoor allergies will be a concern in the month of December. Those with an allergy to dust mites may see more symptoms during December as holiday decorations are brought out of storage and anyone with an allergy to mold should be careful if they bring a living Christmas tree into the home as there could be mold spores on the branches.
Are you prepared for your own personal “allergy season”? The first step for preparing for allergy season is to be tested to learn what you are allergic to. Once you know what brings your allergy symptoms on, you can reduce or avoid exposure no matter what time of year it is.
If you have any questions about managing your allergies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.