When Does Allergy Season Start? The Answer Can Vary
Depending on what you’re allergic to and where you live, allergy season can start as early as April or as late June.
Even if your allergies are triggered by a single allergen, the calendar may not be the best way to predict the onset of symptoms.
The bad news: many people’s allergies are getting worse.
Seasonal Allergies Get an Early Start
If you’re preparing for allergies, the weather forecast is the best indicator of when to expect symptoms to start. That’s because it’s the temperature that triggers pollen production in trees, flowers, and grasses. Pollen levels rise with the temperature, causing worsening allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma.
Due to climate change, many areas of the United States are experiencing warmer temperatures earlier in the year, causing allergy sufferers to experience their spring allergy symptoms up to 20 days earlier and, in some cases, longer.
Spring Allergies and Pollen Sources
Some of the most common spring allergy sources are:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Weed pollen
- Ragweed pollen
So, When Does Spring Allergy Season Start?
In many parts of the country, spring allergy season kicks off when levels of tree pollen become elevated. Across the south and in more temperate climates, this starts in early March. In colder parts of the country, trees may start producing pollen in April.
Grass pollen dominates the second half of the spring allergy season. This typically starts in early May, though it can range widely depending on where you live.
As a rule, if you can see the trees budding or the grass turning green, buckle up.
When Should I Start Taking Allergy Medication?
If you rely on over-the-counter allergy medication, knowing when your symptoms will start can help you get ahead of them, especially if you work, exercise, or spend a lot of time outside. Always consult with your own physician, of course, but many doctors recommend starting allergy medication at least a few weeks before real symptoms start.
Tools like National Allergy Map offer real-time information on pollen levels and can help you gauge when to start taking your medicine. You may also consider checking your weather app; many monitor pollen levels in your area.
Ways to Reduce Spring Allergy Symptoms
The good news is that even those with severe spring allergies can take action to make the spring allergy season better.
In addition to seeking professional medical advice on medication and treatment for your allergies, there are ways to make your home a low-pollen haven, including:
- Keeping doors and windows closed to reduce outdoor allergens from getting into your home
- Washing clothing and bedding more frequently, and in hot water
- Dusting and cleaning often, following this handy guide
- Always replacing your HVAC air filter every 3 months (but consider replacing it more frequently when symptoms are at their worst)
- Keeping your workouts indoors during peak allergy season
- Tracking your symptoms and noticing what weather conditions make your allergies worse, and stay inside when those temperature, wind, and humidity levels are present