Hayfever is a common allergy which can occur throughout the year. Despite having its main impact in summer, hayfever can become a problem throughout the spring and autumn seasons, causing a variety of symptoms, including nasal congestion, runny nose, irritation, and sinus infections.
So what’s causing those summertime allergy flareups? Here are the three main culprits:
1. Tree Pollen – February to June
Springtime and early summer seasonal allergies are most commonly caused by tree pollens. Hardwood deciduous trees, like oak, elm, maple, birch, ash, alder, and walnut, are the top allergen producers. Depending on your region of the county, these trees typically pollinate from late January to May.
It’s important to note that some people show cross-reactivity to tree pollens in the alder, beech, birch and oak family, and the juniper and cedar family. That means if you’re allergic to one type of tree, you are likely to be allergic to others in the same family. A visit to the allergist can help identify what tree pollens you are allergic to.
2. Grass Pollen – Mid-May to Mid-August
There are more then 1,200 species of grass native to North America, but only a small number are known to cause allergic reactions. The top allergen producers are Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, Kentucky bluegrass, redtop grass, orchard grass, timothy grass, and sweet vernal grass. If you live in the South, be aware that Bermuda and Johnson grasses have the longest seasons, while timothy, sweet vernal, and redtop grasses are particularly strong in the North during the summer months.
Ragweed, a tall, branched plant native to North America and found throughout the continental U.S. and Canada, is the primary culprit for allergies caused by weed pollen. In fact, as many as 20 percent of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies.
Weed pollen is potent in late summer and early fall when ragweed is in season. There are 15 varieties of ragweed in the United States and a single plant can produce millions of grains of pollen per day.
Other common allergy producing weeds include cockle weed, curly dock, goosefoot, hemps, mash elder, nettle, pigweeds, plantain, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), sages, and sagebrush.
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