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Summer: The Battlefront of Allergies!

By Staff

Summertime, pools, barbecues, beach days, shorts, sunscreen, picnics, lemonade—these are the images conjured.  

The symptoms of summer include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and sinus pressure that can all drive you out of the sunshine, away from the pools and back into your climate controlled home just to escape the misery of allergies.  

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, over fifty million people suffer from allergies every year; at least you know you have plenty of company in your misery.  But the types of allergies that plague your sinuses during summer time vary based on your geographic location.  Here's a quick overview of which allergens are in each region.

Pacific Region
The West Coast (California, Oregon and Washington state) state trees, walnut, rye and cedar, all have pollination seasons which end in early July.  Ragweed, sage and chenopod can inflame our allergies through November, while grasses such as bluegrass, Bermuda grass, orchard and wheet grass start spreading their seeds in March and continue through November.  In short, buy your over-the-counter meds in bulk—you have a long season ahead of you.

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Southwest Region
Looking mostly at Texas and Oklahoma, trees such as cedar, oak and elm pollinate up until June.  Grass season (see some above) lasts until September.  Also similar to the West coast, ragweed and chenopod are the primary allergen culprits in these two states.

Mountain Region
Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.  Most allergens strike this region in spring through early summer.  Maple, cedar and oak trees finish their pollinating season in May.  Grasses such as wheat grass, redtop, orchard and Bermuda begin pollinating in April and won't quit until July.  Weed season starts in June (ragweed, tumbleweed) and will continue to irritate the eyes and nose until fall.

Plains Region
Very similar to the Mountain region, the states of Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas all have trees that finish their seasons in May (primary offenders are birch, hazlenut, oak and maple).  Grasses start up right about the time the trees take a break, while grasses such as wheat, brome and orchard all finish pollinating in July.  Inconveniently, ragweed, nettles and plantain take over from the grasses—a terrible, but unavoidable handoff of the allergy-baton.  

Great Lakes Region
Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois deal with pollen from elm, birch, alder, oak, and hickory trees until the end of June. Grasses like rye, Bermuda, redtop, and fescue cause the most allergies between May and July. Mid-summer is when weed season starts here and includes the same problematic weeds as the Plains region.

Desert Region
People commonly buy into the myth that the desert region has fewer allergens, but don't be fooled—there are plenty.  Grass season (brome, salt, rye) starts in June and continues through October.  Ragweed, sage, and chenopod begin pollinating in March and continue until December.

Southern Region
States include the Carolinas, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas—have a short tree season that ends in June.  The trade off is a grass season that lasts almost the whole year.  Bermuda, redtop, vernal, timothy and salt grass are the main allergen sources.  Weeds start pollinating in June and share the same list as the Great Lakes and Plains regions.

Northeast Region
If you live here, you're in luck! In this region (including New Hampshire, Maryland, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts), there's not a whole lot to worry about.  The majority of allergen producers are trees such as oak, juniper, pine, and birch wreck the most havoc from February until June.

Summer heat also brings about an abundance of mold spores, which can also cause allergy symptoms.  This is a national problem, not exclusive to any one area of the US, but it is particularly prominent in damp and wet areas (compost, leaf piles and forested areas included).

Knowing how to avoid the allergens can greatly reduce your allergic symptoms; here are some tips and general information:

•Allergens are most prominent in the morning (usually between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.), which means you're best off making plans for later in the day.
•Some foods like apples, carrots, pears and coffee can aggravate symptoms, so limit their consumption.
•Close house and car windows
•Steer clear of large piles of leaves and grass

You now have no excuse to avoid the pool or outdoor activities since you have the know-how to avoid allergens.  It's true that pollination is an unavoidable and necessary part of nature's seasonal cycles, but you don't have to be a victim of your body's reaction and suffer.  After all, summer is here only once a year—so enjoy it while it lasts!

Member Comments

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