Allergies by season

Seasonal allergies aren’t allergies you only have for a season; they’re actually something you have all year, just like how allergies to things like peanuts or shellfish don’t have a seasonal expiration date. The difference is that the triggers for seasonal allergies usually only appear at certain times, so you experience them seasonally.

Seasonal allergies, which are also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, come with symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. You might also experience a cough, sore throat, itchy eyes, or general fatigue.

What allergies are associated with seasons?

  • Spring: Pollen (from plants like trees, grass, and others) is a common seasonal allergy trigger, and it’s at its highest level in the spring. Pollen counts can be especially high in the morning and when it’s windy. Pollen is also present for the summer months, especially on warm days.
  • Summer: Mold can be present at any time of the year, but it grows faster in high humidity and heat. 
  • Fall: Ragweed is another common seasonal trigger, and it releases pollen from around August to November, with highest levels usually in September.
  • Winter: Sometimes, mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early, kicking off allergy season sooner than anticipated. Allergies like mold and dust mites can also be more noticeable in the winter, since people tend to spend more time indoors in winter.

What can you do to combat seasonal allergies?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to combat seasonal allergies is to avoid the allergens that trigger you. However, for some people, that means just never going outside. To avoid the worst of it, you can try to stay indoors on dry or windy days and in the early mornings. And though pollen counts can rise after a rainfall, the time right after it rains is actually a great time to go outside because all of the pollen that had been hanging in the air has just been washed away.

When you can’t avoid allergens, you can wear a mask, make sure to wash your clothes and shower regularly, take allergy medication, and keep the air inside your home clean. You can do this by using air conditioning (rather than window fans), filters in your vents, and a dehumidifier. If your seasonal allergies are interfering with your life, talk to your healthcare provider to see if there are any other solutions that might work for you.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. December 29, 2015. Web.
  • “Is it a cold or an allergy?” MedlinePlus the Magazine. National Institutes of Health. Summer 2011. Volume 6. Number 2. Page 20. Web.
  • “Seasonal Allergies.” Allergist. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2014. Web.
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