Many cities across the nation have reported mild winter weather this past year. While it might have been nice at the time to not endure harsh weather conditions, this could mean a worse allergy season for many.
How Does Weather Affect Allergies?
Typically, the first allergen of the year is tree pollen, which begins in the late winter (end of February/early March) and continues through late spring/early summer (end of June). Then grass pollen kicks in in the late spring/early summer, and finally weed pollen hits in the fall. The month of May is usually most severe for allergy sufferers due to grass pollen beginning while tree pollen counts are high.
The weather during the winter, however, can affect this schedule.
“Milder winters are continuing to affect spring allergies. Trees are able to pollinate earlier and for longer periods, extending the allergy season by several weeks,” explained Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In other words, climbing temperatures mean plants can begin pollinating earlier than usual.
Additionally, a longer winter can mean that trees bloom later in the year, but this often leads to a sudden influx of pollen all at once.
How Can Pollen Be Combatted?
It’s helpful to know what specifically you’re allergic to in order to know what to avoid. Allergy testing is an important first step in preventing and treating allergy symptoms.
In the meantime, there are certain measures you can take to limit pollen in your home in order to reduce symptoms.
- Limit outdoor exposure during times when pollen counts are high. Pollen.com is a great resource for finding out what the pollen levels are in your area.
- Install a quality air filter, such as a HEPA filter, in your home.
- Clean your home thoroughly, taking extra care to dust, vacuum carpet and wash bedding in hot water.
- After spending time outside, take a shower and change your clothes right away.
- Start taking a daily OTC antihistamine right away, even if you don’t yet have symptoms.
For more information about allergy solutions or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert ENT Specialists today.