While you may think your allergies should end after spring, summer allergies are fairly common for most people. Summer allergies are caused by the same offenders as spring allergies, namely pollen that enters the nose of allergic individuals. Since most trees finish pollinating in spring, summer allergies are more often brought on by things like weeds and grasses, such as Bermuda grass and sagebrush.
What Are the Causes of Summer Allergies?
Ragweed is one of the biggest triggers for summer allergies, and it can travel several hundred miles just on the wind. Even if you don’t have ragweed in your area, it can quickly travel to where you are and give you itchy eyes and a runny nose.
Summer allergies can also be caused by summer air pollution. Calm winds and strong sunlight often create ozone clouds around certain cities, worsening allergy symptoms for those who live in the area.
Insects like fire ants, bees, hornets, yellow jackets and wasps may also bring on summer allergies when stinging. Some of these bites can even cause allergic reactions that are life-threatening.
Allergies may also be caused by mold and dust mites in the home.
Symptoms of Summer Allergies
The symptoms of allergies vary based on the specific substance causing the reaction. Most summer allergies manifest themselves in the same way as spring allergies, such as:
- Itchy nose and eyes
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Dark circles around the eyes
If an insect causes an allergy, the reaction most often shows up in mild symptoms like localized swelling and itching. There is a small percentage of the population that may have a severe allergy to certain insects, and a bite or sting can cause nausea, dizziness, swelling of the tongue or the throat, or shock. When a severe allergic reaction occurs, medical help should be sought immediately.
Treating Summer Allergies
As with any allergy, there are several ways to treat summer allergies, including:
You may also be given a prescription medication if over the counter options aren’t doing the job.
Head Them Off
There are several things you can do to deal with summer allergies before they become a problem.
- Watch the pollen and smog counts, and stay indoors when they are high
- Vacuum regularly with a mask, and always with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter
- Always wear a mask when doing yardwork
- Clean home air filters on a regular basis
- Run the air conditioner with an air purifier and close the windows as much as possible in order to keep allergens out
- Use hot water to wash rugs and bedding to get rid of dust mites
- Shower, wash hair and change clothing after being outside for periods of time
- Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent to make the environment hostile for dust mites
While severe allergic reactions require immediate medical treatment, many simple allergies can be treated with over the counter medications and a preventative approach. If itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing are regular fixtures in your life during the summer, it may be time to take action against summer allergies.