Allergies by the Season

Want to know the different kind of allergies that we can face depending on the Season?

Read this article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that explains the differences…


Allergies, by the Season

Each season brings new allergy triggers with it. Here’s a guide to what common allergens you can expect, and when.

For the millions of Americans with seasonal allergies, a change of season means more than a change of scenery or wardrobe. Differences in temperature and precipitation affect the pollination periods of plants and the growth of mold spores, which are the primary triggers for seasonal allergies. Knowing what allergens dominate each season can help you understand what may be causing your own allergic reaction and how to better prepare for different times of the year.

One thing common to all seasonal allergies is that “as the season starts, the allergen level tends to be lower and then goes up,” according to Dr. Anju Peters, an allergist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of medicine in the division of allergy-immunology at Northwestern University. “Pollen counts are [also] higher earlier in the daytime … then go lower as the day progresses,” said Dr. Peters. So don’t assume you can’t enjoy outdoor activities, just try limiting them to later in the day.

The following is a seasonal guide to some of the most common allergens and tips on how to manage them.


This time of year, tree pollen tends to be the biggest allergy culprit. Pollen counts are especially high if the previous winter was an especially mild or wet one.Certain days, however, are worse than others for allergy sufferers. “Warmer days tend to cause more pollination,” said Matthew Ellison, MD, FACS FAAOA, the director of the sinus and allergy program at Duke Otolaryngology of Raleigh; and, as Dr. Peters points out, “pollen will get disseminated a lot more” on windy days.


Grass pollen levels are much higher in warmer weather, and the impact can be felt over several months. “Grasses can pollinate multiple times during a season, so that’s why you have these long grass seasons,” said Peters.If you’re allergic to grass pollen, mowing the lawn can be a nightmare. It’s a good idea to cover up with sunglasses and a mask to help minimize exposure to cut grass. Once indoors, change your clothes and take a shower right away to get rid of any residual pollen.


Ragweed, which affects about 75 percent of people with allergies, “is the No. 1 culprit” in autumn months, according to Dr. Ellison. Rainy or foggy days can spell relief, since moisture in the air weighs down pollen and prevents it from becoming airborne. But rain also fosters the growth of mold spores, another common fall allergen. Though outdoor mold typically appears in the summer as the temperature rises, “it really peaks in the fall when it’s raining, like in September and October,” said Dr. Peters.


If you have seasonal allergies, winter can be the best time of year. Once there’s a solid freeze, “the plants go dormant and that’s it,” said Dr. Ellison. But that doesn’t mean allergies stop for the season. “Many people have what we call pollen sensitization, so they may be allergic to seasonal things all year round,” said Dr. Peters. Winter won’t provide much relief for people who have non-seasonal or perennial allergies to things like dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, indoor molds and mildews. In fact, these allergens “ might cause more problems in the winter,” said Dr. Ellison, “when people are indoors more and windows are closed.”

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