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Whether it’s tree pollen in the spring or ragweed in the fall, allergy symptoms remain the same: itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, headache, and sinus pain and pressure. They also both induce an increase in asthma symptoms. The allergens, themselves, are different in the fall than they are in the spring, and sometimes, fall allergies can be more severe.
The reason that your allergies may be more severe in the fall is because there are far more allergens in the air. In the spring, you are dealing with mostly tree pollen, but in the fall, you are facing weed pollen and molds, which thrive in the fall’s damp weather. Fall’s rotting leaves provide the perfect home for mold growth, and they release spores into the air to reproduce. These tiny spores cause the allergy symptoms you experience. Mold can also build up in shower stalls and on basement walls, making it difficult for you to escape it if you are allergic to it.
There are also more indoor allergens to deal with in the fall, especially late in the season when you are getting out comforters and heavy blankets. This causes the dust mite problem to escalate and can even trigger a greater sensitivity to pet dander. By first frost, however, your outdoor triggers will cease, although due to climate changes, that first frost might begin to arrive later in the season than it has before due to a rise in temperatures and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Spring allergies can be just as volatile, however. This is when trees that have been dormant over the winter come to life and reproduce. They can release a large amount of pollen that many allergy sufferers are sensitive to. There are also many species of trees that release pollen in the spring including walnut, cedar, birch, cottonwood, maple, hickory, oak, and pine.
Just as the tree pollen begins to phase out in late spring, you are greeted with grass pollen, and there are many different grasses that produce this pollen. They include Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda, rye, redtop, timothy, orchid, and sweet vernal. As the grass pollen fizzles out, the late summer ragweed begins releasing pollen, and the cycle begins again.
Knowing which allergens are present during each part of the spring and fall allergy season will help you to determine what you are allergic to. Once you know which allergen or allergens you are reacting to, you can check the pollen counts each day and plan accordingly.
You can also opt to see an allergist for testing and treatment. Once your doctor has determined what your triggers are, you can start immunotherapy. This involves exposing you to increasing amounts of your trigger by regular injections until your body has built up a resistance to it. Then when your allergy season comes around, you will be less likely to react to those triggers.
At the end of the day, both the spring and fall seasons have their share of bothersome allergens. Which season is worse comes down to what you are allergic to and how severe your allergy is.