Though allergies are typically associated with spring and fall because of high pollen counts, there are some allergies that are worse in the summer.
Triggered by grass pollen, ragweed, mold, and more, summer allergies occur when our immune system overreacts to a harmless substance by producing antibodies to protect itself. These can really put a damper on your summer fun. To find some relief, explore the causes of summer allergies and how lifestyle adjustments and remedies can help.
Summer Allergy Symptoms
Not sure if you even have summer allergies? It’s important to remember that summer allergies can differ from allergies you might experience in the spring. This is because they aren’t just limited to the sneezing and watery eyes of typical hay fever. According to allergist Michael Foggs, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), “Black eyes, lines across the nose and other cosmetic symptoms” can also occur. And if your summer allergies are triggered by insect stings, you can add swelling and itchy skin to the roster too. Here are some summer allergy symptoms to look out for:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Nasal creases
- Mouth breathing
- Sore, scratchy throat and coughing due to post-nasal drip
- Localized pain, swelling, and itching around insect bites
Summer Cold vs. Summer Allergies
Summer allergies can sometimes get confused with summer colds because of nasal congestion or when postnasal drip leads to coughing and sore throat. Some people may even think they’ve contracted COVID-19, though allergies will not cause a fever, a crucial difference. It’s important to note that while a cold may occur a few times a year, allergies recur seasonally based on your unique triggers. This is why keeping track of your triggers and when allergy symptoms occur is a key determinant of whether or not you’re an allergy sufferer or you simply have a cold.
Here are the eight common summer allergy triggers:
1. Outdoor Molds
Because mold tends to proliferate in heat and outdoor humidity, summer is prime time for mold to grow and trigger an allergic reaction, even instigating asthma. Outdoor mold is more common from summer through early fall, while indoor mold can cause symptoms year-round. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, only a few dozen types of molds cause allergic reactions.1 These include molds growing on rotting logs and fallen leaves, as well as in compost piles and on grasses and grains.
2. Grass Pollen
Grass pollen is one of the most common causes of summer allergies, provoking a number of hay fever symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and swelling around the eyes. Though there are hundreds of types of grasses, only a few are associated with allergy symptoms and your geographic location may be a determining factor of how you’ll be affected. These grasses include Bermuda, Kentucky, Rye, and Sweet Vernal. If you live in a northern region of the U.S., grasses usually pollinate in the late spring or early summer. In southern regions, grasses can pollinate throughout the year.2
3. Insect Stings
From honeybees to fire ants, stinging insects can also provoke a range of allergy symptoms in the summer months. They are most active during the late spring, summer, and early fall, and unfortunately are not affected by insect repellants. You’ll know you’re having an allergic reaction to a sting if you experience hives, itching, swelling, and possibly dizziness and abdominal cramping.
4. Ragweed Allergies
More common in late summer and early fall in the eastern and midwestern parts of the U.S., ragweed allergies affect about 15 percent of Americans annually. And 75 percent of people who are allergic to pollen are also allergic to ragweed.3 Like mold, ragweed can trigger an asthmatic reaction in addition to hay fever symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes.
Dust mites are microscopic insects that thrive in warm, humid weather typical of summer months. They feed off dust particles around your house where you’ll commonly find them lurking in bed linens, furniture, and carpets. Their residue can also spread in the air and provoke sneezing and congestion, worsening when you dust, sweep, or vacuum.
6. Pet Dander
Pet dander can also provoke summer allergies, especially when mixed up in household dust. Though pet dander can be a problem throughout the year, some pets tend to shed more in the heat, leading to a greater likelihood of having a reaction.
7. Changes in Weather
Experts believe that climate change can also worsen allergy symptoms by impacting pollen seasons of trees, grasses, and weeds.4 Changing weather patterns can intensify as well as extend the duration of the pollen season and worsen air quality at the same time, stirring up pollen, mold, and other allergens and exacerbating undesirable symptoms. Since 1995, warmer temperatures in the U.S. have caused the pollen season to be 11 to 27 days longer.5
8. Strong Gusts of Wind
Warm, dry, and windy days are typically when pollen counts tend to be the highest. Ragweed can also be more of a problem on windy days because it can travel for many miles on the wind, which means that even if it doesn’t grow in your area, you can still be affected. This is why it’s best to stay indoors on windy days and venture out after rain has cleared the air.
Tips to Minimize Reactions & Find Relief
There are a variety of summer allergy remedies and actions you can take to minimize your reactions to triggers. These include:
- Tracking pollen counts
- Keeping doors and windows closed to reduce the amount of pollen and mold that enters your home
- Using air filters
- Minimizing the use of drapes and carpets and washing bedding frequently
- Showering and changing clothes when you come home
- Reducing household humidity
- Trying a medication for allergy relief
While many people reach for over-the-counter antihistamines to treat their summer allergies, many are sensitive to the side effects of these types of drugs, which may include drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, and increased blood pressure. Children also have very limited options due to the harsh chemicals that are used in most OTC medications. An alternative to these OTC drugs is homeopathic medication from Brillia Health, which offers an impactful and targeted approach to reducing symptoms of allergies like sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and congestion without harmful side effects, harsh chemicals or contraindications. Both formulations, Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control, use antibodies to histamines, registered with the FDA as Lapine Histamine Immune Globulin. This active ingredient targets histamines in the body, binds to them, and effectively reduces their ability to cause inflammation, the catalyst to those pestering allergy symptoms that leave you feeling drained and uncomfortable. Brillia Health’s products achieve this without harsh chemicals while supporting your immune system so that you don’t catch another illness while dealing with the stress of coping with allergy symptoms. Brillia Cold & Flu Recovery works best for those who are battling multiple symptoms like congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and post-nasal drip. Cough Control is ideal for those with a wet or dry cough or chest tightness. Both products can also be safely taken together for a more comprehensive approach. Find out more about how Brillia Health products work.
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