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How to Manage Summer Allergies
When people think of seasonal allergies, they typically think of spring and pollen. However, most people who struggle with seasonal allergies still find themselves fighting them throughout the summer season.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year.1
Here are some different types of allergens, why you may encounter and have trouble with them, and ways you can beat your summer allergies.
What Causes Allergies?
Plants and Pollen
Pollen, a dust produced by flowers, is the most common cause of seasonal allergies. Pollen can be found in the trees, plants, and grass. Pollen can make its way onto your car and in your home by traveling in the wind, floating in the air, and sticking onto your body and clothes.
The allergic reaction to pollen happens because the body’s immune system believes pollen is an intruder that can harm the body, and in turn produces chemicals to fight off the pollen.2 This causes you to sniffle, sneeze, and feel tired throughout the day.
Your geographic location will determine when flowers pollinate and when different allergens start to bother you. For example, pollen may stir up earlier in some states than it does in others. You may experience allergies from the pollen in early spring or not until the beginning of summer depending where you live.
Besides pollen being a common allergen in the summer, there are other plants that will cause people to experience allergies.
According to WebMD, here are some plants and grasses that are most commonly known to make people sniffle and sneeze:
- Blue grasses
- Red top
Other Causes of Allergies
Aside from the plants and grass outdoors, there are even more causes for summer allergies such as air pollution, insects, and mold.
Insects that sting such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, are more active during the warm summer months.
For most people, stings from these insects may only cause discomfort and a reaction on the skin. For some, the sting may lead to allergic reactions including itching and swelling around the area.
However, if you experience a tight throat, tongue swelling, or dizziness, it’s a severe allergic reaction and you need to seek immediate help.
Mold is a common cause of allergies, especially in the summer. Mold grows in dark, damp areas, such as bathrooms and piles of wet linens.
During the summer, you might spend some of your days at the pool or beach and come home with wet bathing suits and towels. This, along with the moisture that hot weather and humidity can bring on its own, can cause mold to grow inside your home.
It’s important not to leave wet bathing suits and towels on the floor or inside bags for an extended amount of time. Hang dry or wash anything that is wet as soon as possible.
Dust mites are tiny bugs that like warm and humid temperatures. They are most commonly found in beds and fabrics.
Dust mites are more likely to get into your home in the summer because they enjoy the warmth and humidity. Because dust mites can’t be seen with a microscope, you might not know that they are there until you have an allergic reaction.
Follow these tips to ensure you don’t accumulate dust mites in your home:
- Wash linens, towels, and clothes often
- Leave your bed unmade for at least 30 minutes after waking up – this allows any oil or sweat that accumulated while you sleep to dry
- Replace your mattress if it is old
Symptoms of Allergies
Symptoms of allergies vary from person to person depending on genetics and type of allergy.
Common symptoms of summer allergies include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Although these are typical symptoms for seasonal allergies, keep in mind that your symptoms might be different.
Allergies vs. Summer Cold
Even though it’s summer time, there is still a chance that you can catch a cold.
For many people, allergies and a summer cold are similar experiences.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sinus pressure
However, here are some ways to distinguish allergies from a summer cold:
- Duration of symptoms. How long you have symptoms can be a tell-tale sign of whether it’s a cold or allergies. Allergies typically last weeks and linger. A cold will last 3-10 days.
- Shortness of breath. This is a sign of a summer cold or another infection. Allergies, whether seasonal or caused by an external factor, should never give you trouble breathing.
- Aches and pain. Allergies do not typically cause muscle aches and pain throughout the body. If you’re experiencing discomfort in your body, you may have a cold.
- Fever. A fever usually comes with a cold or another infection in the body. If you have a fever, it is most likely not allergies.5
How to Manage Allergies
Having allergies during the summer is not ideal. No one wants to be sneezing and coughing when they’re trying to enjoy their summer vacation.
Here are some ways you can try and beat your summer allergies.
- Try to keep allergens out. As nice as the weather is during the summer, leaving windows or doors open allows allergens to get carried by the wind into your home. If you’re experiencing allergies, keep the windows and doors closed, run the AC, and use an air purifier.
- Clean and dust. Dust off bookshelves, counter tops, and anywhere where pollen can easily collect. Cleaning the air filters in your house can also help you remove pollen and debris that can potentially get into the rooms of your home.
- Get rid of dust mites. Wash beddings, rugs, and other linens often to get rid of dust mites that accumulate during the summer.
- Shower after being outside. If you’re experiencing summer allergies, shower and change clothes after being outside for an extended amount of time. This will get rid of all the allergens that attached themselves to your body and clothes.
- Wear a mask. If you’re vacuuming the house or mowing the lawn, try wearing a mask to prevent breathing in the pollen, dust, or mold.
If you’re having trouble trying to beat your summer allergies this season, there are treatments available that can ease your symptoms such as nasal spray, eye drops, and allergy medication. If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction on the skin, there are topical treatments available that provide relief from itching and burning.
However, if your symptoms are severe, seek advice from your doctor about your allergies and symptoms. You can also see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor if allergies are affecting your everyday life.
Enjoy Summer Allergy-Free
Now that you know more about allergies and the causes, we hope you can find ways to prevent or find relief from your summer allergies.
To learn more about Saber Healthcare, click here to see the types of services we provide.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Allergy Facts and Figures.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, aafa.org. April 2021. Accessed July 20th, 2021. https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/.
- Kerr, Michael and Sampson, Stacy. “Pollen Allergies.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. May 29th, 2020. Accessed July 20th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/pollen.
- Watson, Stephanie. “How to Beat Summer Allergies.” WebMD, LLC, webmd.com. March 7th, 2020. Accessed July 19th, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/summer-allergies.
- “Is It a Summer Cold or Allergies?” Hackensack Meridian Health, Health U. June 29th, 2021. Accessed July 19th, 2021. https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/HealthU/2021/06/29/is-it-a-summer-cold-or-allergies/.
- “Cold or allergy: Which is it?” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 19th, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/expert-answers/common-cold/faq-20057857.