Safety Tip of the Week: Understanding seasonal allergies

Field of yellow flowers in bloom against a blue sky with white clouds

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about seasonal allergies.

Are you sneezing and coughing? Are your nose and eyes itchy and running? During certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. Tree, grass and weed pollen are common triggers of seasonal allergies.

In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in February and last until early summer. Tree pollination begins earliest in the year followed by grass pollination later in the spring and summer. Ragweed blooms in the late summer and fall. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early, and a rainy spring can promote plant growth and lead to an increase in mold and allergy symptoms.

The most common culprit for allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November.

Other plants that trigger allergies include:

  • Alder, Ash, Cedar and Cottonwood (Trees).
  • Bermuda, Rye and Timothy (Grass).
  • English Plantain, Lamb’s Quarters, and Redroot Pigweed (Weeds).

The following environmental factors also influence how bad your symptoms might be when the pollen counts are at their highest:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in heat and high humidity.
  • Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
  • Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
  • On a day with no wind, airborne allergens are grounded.
  • When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.

Avoiding allergy triggers can help with managing allergy symptoms. Call your doctor if you cannot avoid your allergy triggers and you need help managing them. Your doctor can refer you to an allergy specialist who will help identify your allergy triggers and create a suitable treatment plan for you.

Check the pollen count here.