Summer is finally here! This means warmer temperatures, long days drenched in sunshine, and getting outdoors again, but if you’re one of the many people who suffer from seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, a runny nose, and other bothersome symptoms that can ruin the mood. A runny nose in the middle of summer? Can’t be. Stuffy nose and congestion? Are you kidding? If you’re here, it’s likely you’re starting to suspect that seasonal allergies may be to blame for the symptoms you’re experiencing. So, you might be wondering, “How do I know if I suffer from summer allergies?” Keep reading to find out more about summer allergy symptoms, causes, and treatment, so you wouldn’t miss out on all the fun-in-the-sun to another nasty symptom!
Allergies in summer
Spring’s over, but you’re still congested, sniffling and sneezing your way through summer, as well? Welcome to summer allergy season! It keeps going long after April’s showers and May’s flowers are gone, during the hot summer months. Seasonal allergies (commonly called hay fever) are fairly common and occur only during certain times of the year, depending on what a person is allergic to. Summer allergies are a real thing, meaning your immune system is overreacting to an outdoor allergen that triggers an allergic response. If you’re affected by summer allergies, this article will help you understand what triggers them, as well as what you can do to keep them under control.
Late summer allergies
Summer allergies can last for weeks or even months at a time. Late summer ragweed is the most common cause of late summer and fall allergies. If you are one of the less lucky ones and are allergic to this nasty weed, there’s a chance your summer allergy might turn into a fall allergy, and continue through October and possibly November.
Are allergies worse in the summer?
The summer heat can actually make allergies worse than usual. Many plants pollinate based on environmental triggers, which is why we have different allergy seasons caused by different plants. Most grasses like to pollinate during the heat, which is why summer is when seasonal allergies are at their worst.
Summer allergy triggers and causes
Generally, seasonal allergies occur when you’re exposed to a typically harmless substance and your immune system mistakenly identifies it as a threat. Different plants emit their respective pollen at different times of the year. But, pollen isn’t the only potential source of your summer allergies. Depending on your allergy triggers, you might experience symptoms all-year-round, or during a particular season. Many of the same triggers are to blame. But, once you know what they are, you can take steps to relieve your symptoms. If a runny nose and red, watery eyes are ruining your summer look, we’ve put together a list of the main culprits that cause and trigger summer allergies.
Pollen, a powdery substance produced by trees, grasses, and weeds, is the most common cause of seasonal allergies. It’s lightweight and dry, so traveling long distances in the wind is easy. A high pollen count means you’re much more likely to have worse allergy symptoms.
Grasses and weeds
During the summer months, pollens from weeds and grasses are usually to blame for allergy flare-ups. Ragweed is one of the most common summer allergy triggers, followed by tumbleweed, Russian thistle, pigweed, and sagebrush. Grasses that will most likely cause summer allergies are bluegrasses, Bermuda, Johnson grass, orchard, red top, sweet vernal, and timothy.
Although mold is active all year round, the mold spores that trigger allergy symptoms are actually most prominent during the summer months, because mold is fueled by the increased levels of humidity in the air. So, as temperature and humidity increase, so does the risk of mold causing allergic reactions.
Smog and air pollution
Unfortunately, just as we start to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the weather, air pollution and smog tend to make summer allergy symptoms worse. During summer, photochemical pollutants such as ozone and vehicle emissions become worse, causing difficulty breathing and chest congestion, as well as nasal irritation.
Critters that sting are more active during summer, possibly causing allergic reactions. Dust mites also peak during summer, since they thrive in warm, humid temperatures and can set off sneezing, wheezing, and a runny nose.
Summer allergies symptoms
While allergies during the summer months may have different causes than other seasonal allergies, most symptoms remain the same. Summer allergies can be just as bad as the spring and fall seasons and the symptoms can affect the lungs, sinuses, and skin depending on the allergen. Most common summer allergy symptoms include:
Summer allergies tend to have itchy symptoms – itchy eyes, throat, ears, nose, the roof of the mouth. Itching may start gradually or abruptly, consequently causing even more skin irritation.
Respiratory system difficulties
Other bothersome summer allergy symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, and thickening mucus, possibly followed by nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing or difficulty breathing, if not treated.
Rashes, dark circles under your eyes, lines across the nose, and other less common summer allergy symptoms can also occur.
How to deal with summer allergies? Treatment and symptom relief
Summer allergies can make you feel miserable. But, before you settle for plastic flowers and artificial turf, try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies and their symptoms under control.
Reduce exposure to allergy triggers
Stay indoors on dry, windy days, when the pollen count and smog levels are high, and keep your windows closed to reduce the amount of pollen and mold that comes inside. Delegate gardening chores or wear a mask, if you need to go outside – shower and change clothes after.
If complete avoidance is impossible, you can try over-the-counter medication, such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops. If that doesn’t help, your physician can also prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms and may recommend immunotherapy to treat the root cause of your summer allergies.
A healthy diet and a strong immunity
For your body to be able to fight back, you need to boost your immunity, with a healthy diet. Since plant sterols help strengthen our immune defense and reduce nasty inflammatory markers caused by summer allergy triggers, here’s a list of foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols that will help you do that. Getting the daily recommended amount of plant sterols through food is not always easy, so you can also use natural supplements. Luckily, plant sterols, stanols as well as other anti-inflammatory components are found in abundance in ImmunoCare – your natural bodyguard.
End of summer allergies
The symptoms of summer allergies can be really uncomfortable. If you suspect you suffer from seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor and take the necessary steps to avoid allergy triggers and put an end to your summertime sniffles!
Jack was born and educated in Ireland and U.K. He has a varied education, mostly in engineering projects. Since then he has worked with a number of major companies with interests in various parts of the world. His personal interests include athletics, cross country skiing and especially long distance running. Jack has competed in many running events and some at an international level, including many marathons. He has always had a keen interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. More recently he has specialized in the areas of health and supplements, with a special focus on the immune system.