Summer Allergies vs. Fall Allergies

Summer or Fall? Which is your favorite season out of the two? Or how about: which of the two comes with the worst allergies? Our Little Rock Allergist, Dr. Meredith Dilley, explains while we tend to categorize allergies by season and environment, there's a lot more out there than just pollen or ragweed when it comes to seasonal allergies.

Springtime may come to mind as the season when people suffer the most from allergies, but summer presents plenty of allergy concerns of its own. By the time summer begins, all the plant pollen spread around during the spring has had time to sprout grasses and weeds that introduce an additional array of allergens into the air. Depending on the region where you live, these allergens may include various different kinds of weeds such ragweed, sagebrush, and tumbleweed, among others. Different types of grasses carry allergens in the summer as well. Along with the lush greenery of summer also come a thriving community of insects. Mosquitoes are most active in the summer, especially in areas where standing water accumulates, and their bites cause small allergic reactions in the layers of the skin. Bees, wasps, flies, ants, and other winged and multi-legged critters are also very abundant and active during the summer and can cause allergic reactions to their bites and stings. But natural things like grass, weeds, and insects are not the only sources of summer allergy problems. Air pollution is also highest in the summer, and can be another cause of allergy symptoms. When the hot summer sun combines with chemicals in the air, such as carbon monoxide from engine or industrial exhaust, clouds of ozone are created that linger near ground level, where people are exposed to the pollutants. This phenomena is most obvious around bigger cities, where the pollution in the air can become visible as “smog.”

In the fall, a slightly different lineup of allergens takes the stage. Ragweed is the most common cause of hay fever, also known by its scientific name allergic rhinitis. Ragweed begins to pollinate in August and may continue to pollinate, spreading millions of pollen grains per day, until the seasonal temperatures drop close to freezing. Mold spores in the air are also prevalent in the fall, and can even outnumber ragweed in some areas. Fall winds are capable of carrying grains of pollen, ragweed, mold, and other allergens vast distances through the air. Before fall hits, people who are highly allergic to ragweed and mold often have to get a seasonal allergy shot from their doctor to prevent and relieve their symptoms. While ragweed and mold are probably the most rampant allergens, decaying leaves on the ground and lingering heat from the summer are also known causes of allergic reactions in many people during the fall months.

To better understand your allergies and treatment options, schedule an appointment with our Little Rock Allergist, Dr. Meredith Dilley. Dr. Dilley offers care and management of a variety of conditions in the field of allergy and immunology for both adults and children. Don't let allergies get you down—contact the Allergy Center at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center today.