Allergies are never fun, so it’s good to know when hay fever season starts so that you can prepare yourself.
Roughly 24 million Americans struggle with allergy symptoms including a runny nose or congestion, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat. These are signs that you may have allergic rhinitis, although most of us are more familiar with the term “hay fever.”
For most of us, these symptoms are most apparent during hay fever season, the time of year when certain kinds of pollen are most present.
Preventative treatments are most effective if you begin them before severe hay fever symptoms take hold. Improving your indoor air quality during these early stages will give you a head start on minimizing your symptoms for the rest of the season.
Read on to learn more about the arrival of hay fever season.
What Causes Hay Fever?
The most common triggers of hay fever symptoms are tree, weed, and grass pollen. Pollens are very fine, powder-like grains that plants use in their reproductive process.
How does it perform this reproductive task? In some cases, pollen becomes airborne, traveling to other trees, weeds, and grass of the same species. While this air travel is great for plant matter, it’s not so great for a lot of people.
Hay fever occurs when pollen comes into contact with the mouth, nose, and eyes of an allergic person. The body perceives the pollen as some kind of threat. It then goes through the inflammation process to alert the immune system to its proteins called allergens.
Certain conditions make some people more susceptible to hay fever. These include eczema, asthma, or over-exposure to allergens.
Identifying the Start of Hay Fever Season
When should we expect pollen to hit the air?
Unfortunately, it’s not an exact science. The start of hay fever season depends almost entirely on the weather. So what’s the best rule of thumb?
The tree pollen count usually rises in the spring. The grass and weed pollen count rise in the summer, and the last, also in the early fall. If the spring and summer brought extreme pollen counts, hay fever sticks around through the fall.
That doesn’t mean that you should expect hay fever to arrive right on March 19th, the first day of spring. Under normal circumstances, certain tree species such as birch begin their pollen shedding in mid-April.
However, nature cares more about the weather than about the calendar. If your winter was mild, the trees will shed their pollen earlier. If your winter weather follows you well into April and even May, hay fever season will have a rocky start.
No matter when hay fever season opens, you’ll find that some days are worse than others. Mild temperatures, low wind, and low humidity create the perfect conditions for pollen. On these days, you’ll often find that your symptoms are worse.
Why Do I Experience Hay Fever Symptoms All Year Round?
Some people experience symptoms of hay fever symptoms all year round, rather than during the spring and summer seasons, alone. Why is this?
If you have allergy symptoms around the clock and the calendar, you have perennial allergic rhinitis. That means that you’re allergic to more than just pollen. You may have sensitivities to other common airborne microorganisms like fungi and dust mites.
If this is the case, many of the treatments remain the same. The primary difference is that you’ll need to practice allergic rhinitis prevention all year round, rather than during certain times of the year.
Beginning Hay Fever Treatment Early
If you know hay fever is right around the corner, it’s time to start prepping your home and your body.
Some treatments like allergy medication may not be suitable for certain people, including women who are pregnant. In this case, visit a doctor to check for alternatives or even natural allergy remedies to turn to.
Start Circulating Clean Air
What’s the best thing you can do at the beginning of the hay fever season? Purify the air inside your home.
Measure the square footage of important rooms in your house, like the living room and bedrooms. Find the proper air purifier for each room and keep them running throughout the day. This will pull the allergens from the air to ensure that you’re breathing clean, filtered air.
Watch the Pollen Count
Certain days are worse than others, as are certain times. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning and evening on dry days.
If you know the pollen count is high, limit your outdoor time and keep your windows closed.
Take Over the Counter Medication
Visit a doctor so you can manage your symptoms depending on the severity. Taking non-drowsy over the counter medication may be appropriate. It may be best to start this regimen before your symptoms arise. That way, the medication acts as a preventative measure rather than fighting symptoms you already have.
Wash Your Face Before Bed
Don’t go to bed covered in pollen! Make sure to wash your face before going to bed so that you aren’t spending the night in contact with your allergens.
Ideally, it’s best to shower before bed if possible. Pollen sticks to your hair which then touches your pillow each night. In effect, you may be transferring pollen from your hair to your pillow and then straight to your face!
Create a Pollen-Free Home
If hay fever season gets you down, it’s time to make sure that the inside of your home isn’t filled with the same allergens you run into outside! Air purifiers transform your home into a safe haven for anyone with allergies or sensitivities.