When you think of seasonal allergies, budding tree blossoms in spring and falling leaves in autumn might come to mind. However, sneezing, runny noses, and itchy, watery eyes aren’t exclusive to spring and autumn – summer allergies can hit just as hard. Learn about the most common summer allergies, ways to avoid your triggers and what allergy treatment options are available.
Common Summer Allergies
What causes severe sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes and other allergic reactions this time of year? The most likely culprits include:
- Weeds: Ragweed pollen is a common end of summer allergy that can travel hundreds of miles on the wind to aggravate your symptoms. Other offending weeds include sagebrush, cockleweed, Russian thistle, pigweed and tumbleweed.
- Grass: The smell of freshly mown grass might not bring you joy if you’re allergic to bluegrass, Bermuda, orchard, red top, Timothy, sweet vernal or other grass varieties.
- Air pollution: Summer smog is largely comprised of ground-level ozone, a lung irritant that reaches its highest level on hot, sunny days.
- Mold: Spores floating in the air are more likely to settle and grow during warm, humid weather. Your muggy basement and damp bathroom are typical places for mold to grow. Mold spores are also spread into the air when mowing the grass, weeding the garden, or clipping the shrubs.
- Insects: Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are just some of the critters that can cause an allergic reaction if you get stung.
How to Avoid Summer Allergy Triggers
Make summer more fun by avoiding your allergy triggers. First, find out what you’re sensitive to with allergy skin testing. Then, follow these tips:
- Stay indoors when weed and grass pollen counts are at their highest (usually in the early morning hours).
- Don’t hang clothing to dry outside.
- Keep your windows closed.
- Ask someone else to mow your grass. If you must do the chore yourself, wear a pollen mask.
- Stay indoors when the air quality index indicates high outdoor air pollution.
- Keep indoor mold growth at bay by running a dehumidifier, cleaning shower tiles and grout regularly, and using the exhaust fans when showering and cooking.
- Prevent bee stings by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and avoiding floral-scented perfumes that could attract insects.
Treatment Options for Summer Allergies
Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to completely avoid every allergen this summer. Fortunately, treatment options are available:
- Take over-the-counter medicine , including antihistamine, decongestant, eye drops and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
- Request a stronger prescription medication from your doctor , which may include leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs), ipratropium bromide nasal sprays and corticosteroid nasal sprays.
- Begin immunotherapy treatment to help your body better tolerate exposure to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. A complete course of treatment could cure your hypersensitivity!
If you’re dealing with severe summer allergies, it may be time to see an allergist. Visit Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM for help developing a personalized treatment plan that focuses on your specific allergy triggers. We have eight convenient locations in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown where you can schedule your appointment.