Spring vs. Summer Allergies

Seasonal allergies can seriously impair your fun in the sun each year. However, knowing the difference between spring and summer allergies can help you identify your own allergens. Armed with this information, you'll be able to take greater steps to combat your allergies and enjoy your health in every season.

What Causes Spring Allergies?

Spring allergies are triggered by pollen released from trees. Trees start pollinating between January and April, variable on climate and location factors. Culprits include:

  • Oak
  • Olive
  • Elm
  • Birch
  • Poplar
  • Sycamore
  • Maple
  • Cypress
  • Walnut trees

During the later spring grasses start to pollinate and more discomfort ensues.

What are the Symptoms of Spring Allergies?

Frequently referred to as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is the main spring allergy. Symptoms include itchy, watery eyes and nose and excessive sneezing. These symptoms occur when tree pollens come into contact with antibodies in the lining of the nose or eyes. Although pollens are harmless, the antibodies view them as a threat and release histamines to fight them. However, the only damage done is to the actual body; this is where the symptoms of the allergic reaction develop. Other symptoms of spring allergies include conjunctivitis (eye allergies) and dermatitis (skin allergies).

What Causes Summer Allergies?

Grasses that are known to aggravate allergies can be divided into two categories: northern grasses and southern grasses. Common to colder climates, northern grasses include:

  • Timothy
  • Rye
  • Orchard
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Red Top
  • Blue Grasses

Southern grasses are generally found in warmer climates. Bermuda grass is the main grass in this group. As the weather becomes hot and dry during the summer, much of the vegetation dies. Combined with high humidity levels, these are tremendous conditions for the growth of mold fungi. Thus by the end of July, mold allergy symptoms are at their peak.

What Are the Symptoms of Summer Allergies?

Approximately 35 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis. As the seasons shift, some symptoms may relent only to be replaced by others. Common symptoms of summer allergies include nasal stuffiness and excess mucous in nose and throat. Many people suffer from what they mislabel as a "summer cold." Unlike a winter cold, which is caused by a virus, the summer cold is actually an allergic reaction to those airborne pollens (possibly exacerbated by airborne mold spores too).

Am I One in 35 Million?

The itchy, watery eyes/nose, sneezing, and stuffiness are not necessarily the only symptoms of allergies. You may have allergies if you experience:

  • Recurrent headaches, especially in the forehead
  • Stuffy nose, with or without runny discharge, which may cause you to breathe through your mouth
  • A plugged-up sensation in the ears
  • Dry, itchy throat
  • Sleep loss

Consult an allergist or physician for a diagnosis, and then read on for what you can do about it.

Will I ever stop Suffering?

Because allergies affect so many millions of Americans, this issue has been addressed and there are myriad treatments available to help you enjoy your favorite seasons again.



Photo Credit: CubaGallery

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