Do Your Seasonal Allergies Get Worse in Summer?
I consider summer to be my second-worst asthma season (after winter) due to the heat and humidity. However, a family friend recently commented that while she used to just have Spring-and-Fall seasonal allergies, her allergies have been over the years getting much worse in Summer time.
Why might allergies get worse in summer?
Like asthma, allergies ebb and flow with the seasons. Environmental “seasonal” allergies are immune reactions to pollens and moulds, as well as to dust mites. Insect stings are another common culprit behind allergic reactions come summer, with bees, wasps, and hornets most active in this season.1 As there are different plants blooming from Spring to Fall, and different mold spores being stirred up, without allergy testing done by an allergist and their staff, it can be near impossible to determine what you are truly allergic to.
As different geographic regions have different allergens, your local allergist will test you for a panel of allergens that resemble those common where you live—if you’ve moved and experienced an increase in allergy symptoms, it may be worthwhile asking about how your old allergy tests line up with what is tested for in your new area.
Summer allergy symptoms
Summer allergy symptoms are often mistaken for colds 1, but like other seasonal allergies, if you seem to get a cold that lingers a long time around the same time each year, it could very likely be allergies.
Allergy symptoms may also vary from the typical stuffiness-and-sneeziness, and watery eyes that we all associate with allergies. Other allergy symptoms may include “allergic shiner” (“black eyes”, or dark circles under the eyes from congestion of blood vessels under the eyes), swelling of the face from adenoidal swelling in the back of the throat/nose, which causes a tired or “droopy” appearance in those with allergies 1, a “nasal crease” or line down the centre of the nose caused by rubbing to alleviate nasal congestion. 1
These less-commonly known allergy symptoms can certainly be a hassle, and may not be as easily identified as allergies—so, they are good to be aware of!
What can be done about summer allergy symptoms?
At-home management of allergies should include keeping your windows closed (as well as keeping windows closed in your car during allergy seasons!), checking pollen and mold counts relevant to your allergies (many weather apps now include detailed pollen counts for your area), and taking a shower and changing your clothes once you come inside from work or play outdoors.2
If you’re suffering from summer allergies, speak with your doctor or allergist. They may have solutions beyond the typical over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays to offer, such as prescription decongestant nasal sprays or nasal steroids, stronger prescription antihistamines, or decongestants. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach of over the counter tablets, your allergist can help create a treatment plan that fits your symptoms.
Seeing an allergist can also help you prepare for a less dreadful allergy season next year, as they can help you pinpoint your allergies through testing and get a jump on treating them, whether by immunotherapy or starting treatment earlier for summer before summer allergies start making you totally miserable!
Do you have summer allergies? How do you manage them?
Have you ever experienced an itchy chin prior to or during asthma attacks?