If you have allergies, you know to gear up for symptoms during the heavy pollination seasons of spring and fall. But what happens when your allergies drag on through summer, too?
The hard truth is that summer presents its own allergens. They affect fewer people than spring and fall allergens do, but they still cause plenty of misery.
Here are a few of the sources that could be causing your allergies to flare up in summer:
Pollens – The heavy barrage of spring pollens dies down by the time June rolls around, but grass pollens are still being released in early summer. In July and August, ragweed starts pollinating, affecting 10 to 20 percent of Americans. Ragweed is an astoundingly prolific pollinator, releasing a million pollen grains per plant every single day. The granules are so lightweight that they can travel up to 400 miles on the wind. That means that most every part of the country is afflicted by ragweed. Summer pollens wreak the most havoc on warm, dry, windy days.
Sunscreen – Sometimes the things that are designed to protect us end up hurting us. Sunscreen can take on a harmful role if you are prone to photo-contact dermatitis, which is an interaction between UV radiation and chemical-based products such as sunscreen. At the heart of the reaction is usually a sensitivity to fragrances and preservatives. Fortunately, some sunscreen brands are light on these two elements so they won’t be as likely to trigger allergies.
Mold – Indoor molds can trigger your allergies year-round. Outdoor molds can also thrive throughout the year, but they are most common in summer and fall. Mold causes hay fever symptoms, including a runny or congested nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. It can also cause respiratory system symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and asthma. If indoor molds are triggering your allergies, use a dehumidifier in your home and turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom when you shower. If mold issues persist, call in a specialist for remediation.
Pets – If you have a cat or dog, you could be reacting to their pet dander (sloughed-off skin flakes). If you’re spending more time indoors to avoid the heavy heat of summer, you might be getting more exposure to your furry friends. To minimize your allergies to your animals, consider installing hardwood flooring instead of carpet, which can trap allergy-causing pet dander. Wash bedding frequently, and establish pet-free zones in your home. If you love your pets but can’t seem to live with them, in spite of your efforts to reduce your contact with their dander, see an allergist about treatment. Your doctor can prescribe allergy shots, which you can receive at the doctor’s office (usually twice a week). He or she can also prescribe sublingual immunotherapy, which is similar to shots but delivers desensitizing antigen through allergy drops for dog and cat allergies.
Food allergies – Food allergies may also be causing your summer allergy symptoms. Much like pollen allergies, food allergies can cause hay fever symptoms (runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, etc.) They can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as gas, cramping, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Food allergens can trigger conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis (“inflamed esophagus syndrome”). AllergyEasy can help with food allergy treatment as well as eosinophilic esophagitis treatment.
Summer should be fun and carefree—not weighed down by allergic misery. If you have summer allergy symptoms, see an allergy doctor for help.