Allergy season is the bane of every allergy sufferer's existence, but when does it actually start? Between the itchy eyes, the runny nose, the sneezing, and the general misery, allergy season is that time of year that everyone wishes they could skip once it is upon them. While many people associate allergy season with spring, the reality is that it varies depending on the type of allergens and where you live.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergies, plagues millions of people around the globe each year.
This isn't always the case, though. While spring is a well-known time for seasonal allergies, it's not the de facto start to allergy season. So when does allergy season start?
When Does Allergy Season Start?
The truth is, there really is no one start or end to allergy season.
Allergy season varies from person to person based on what's causing their seasonal allergies. For people who experience allergies to irritants like pollen, their allergy season may start in the Spring. However, their allergies may be worse in the summer months because of the different pollen levels throughout those months.
For example, if you're allergic to grass pollen or ragweed pollen, you may feel absolutely miserable during months when someone with a different pollen allergy, like tree pollen, is unbothered. The opposite can be true— their allergies may have them in misery during times when you're feeling great.
If you're one of the millions of Americans who experience allergies to other irritants like pet dander, mold spores, or dust mites, your allergy season may even last the whole year! (This is known as perennial rhinitis.)
A Month-by-Month Guide to Seasonal Allergies
Allergy season depends on what kind of allergens are most numerous at the time, and different allergens are more common at different times of the year.
Knowing your allergy triggers and what time of year they typically flare up goes a long way toward keeping your seasonal allergy symptoms under control. So let's go through the year month-by-month and look at what kind of irritants are most common throughout the year.
Pollen levels are generally at their lowest in January because it is, of course, the dead of winter. However, those who are allergic to tree pollen may find themselves feeling sniffly in January. This is especially true if you live in areas with a lot of cedar trees, like the Southern United States. Cedar pollen levels are actually high in January if you live in those areas.
This is when tree pollen season starts gearing up. If you have allergies to tree pollen like maple or alder, you may experience your regular allergy symptoms in February.
March marks the beginning of spring allergy season for many people. Tree pollen is even more common in March, but weed pollen and grass pollen could start creeping up if warm spring weather arrives earlier that year.
Grass pollen and weed pollen are more common in April, but April is actually the apex of tree pollen season. Pollen spores from trees like willow, mulberry, and pine are especially numerous.
April showers bring May flowers, but May also brings higher levels of tree pollen and grass pollen everywhere. Because of this, May is the start of allergy season for many people.
Just as tree pollen season begins to die down, grass pollen season rises to the occasion to make our eyes water and our noses run. Pollen from ryegrass, bermudagrass, and cat grass are especially common in June as the summertime begins.
In July, just as tree pollen season continues its decline, weed pollen season kicks into high gear. Meanwhile, grass pollen levels are still extremely high.
Unfortunately, July is also right in the middle of wildfire season if you live in places like California or the Pacific Northwest.  Even if you're a safe distance away from the fires themselves, drifting smoke can also wreak havoc on your seasonal allergies.
Weed pollen season is still in full force in August, particularly if you're allergic to types like ragweed (one of the most common allergens), nettle, or pigweed.
However, grass pollen and tree pollen levels continue to drop as fall weather approaches.
September marks the beginning of the fall allergy season. Tree pollen and grass pollen levels are lower as Fall begins, which is great news for allergy sufferers of those pollen types. Unfortunately for those allergic to weed pollen, though, September marks the peak of weed pollen season.
To make matters worse, many of these prolific pollen spores are easily spread around by the wind, making it harder to avoid them while you're out and about.
As the leaves begin to change colors and the air becomes crisper, pollen levels in the air are also dropping. Weed pollen levels may still be high in regions like the American South or out west, but October generally marks the much-needed decline in these pesky seasonal allergies.
Outdoor allergy sufferers, rejoice! Grass pollen and tree pollen levels are low, and weed pollen levels are dropping. Those with a ragweed allergy may still feel sniffly on occasion, but that, too is on its way out as winter approaches.
However, this can feel bittersweet to those who love the warm weather, since this is when the cold season truely starts each year.
Thanks to the colder weather, most pollen levels are significantly lower than in previous months. However, much like January, you may still experience seasonal allergy symptoms if you have a cedar allergy.
How to Keep Your Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Under Control
No matter what time of year it is, there's always a way to combat (or even prevent) what's causing your seasonal allergies. Here are a few of our suggestions to help keep you feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, even in the thick of allergy season.
- Use SinuSonic. SinuSonic can help you breathe better at the height of allergy season, even if you're stuffed up and miserable. The device combines gentle acoustic vibrations and light pressure to help relieve nasal congestion naturally. Used over time, the device can also help you breathe more freely and efficiently.
- Keep an eye on the pollen count. Even if you're in the middle of allergy season, pollen count is the deciding factor of whether you feel fine or are an allergic mess. Knowing what kinds of pollen are in the air each day (and how many of them) can make avoiding your allergy symptoms much easier. We recommend checking Pollen.com for your area's daily pollen forecast.
- Allergy-proof your home. Indoor allergies and nonallergic rhinitis can happen year-round and add insult to injury if you're already in the middle of outdoor allergy season. No matter what you're allergic to, allergy-proofing your home is a surefire way to help keep your symptoms to a minimum. Want to learn how to allergy-proof your home? Check out our tips!
- Keep the windows closed on high pollen days. This one is pretty self-explanatory. On days when there's a lot of pollen in the air, keep the windows and doors closed to prevent any from intruding on your home and causing your allergies to flare up. If the weather is warm, use the air conditioner or fans to cool your house rather than inviting pollen in.
- Rinse your sinuses with a saline solution or a neti pot. This flushes pesky irritants and allergens out of your nasal passages while keeping moisturized and feeling more comfortable.
- Mind the rain. Any allergy sufferer could tell you that a little rain goes a long way in relieving a pollen allergy because rain washes away any errant pollen. However, pollen count can spike after some rainfall, so keep that in mind if there's rain in the forecast during your allergy season.
Allergy Season Never Ends? Try SinuSonic!
Thanks to all the new flowers blooming and the plant life springing back to life, Spring is typically associated with allergy season. Spring allergies are very common, but they're not universal. (Anyone with a ragweed allergy during the fall will agree.) For an unlucky few, they may even be seeking allergy relief year-round!
But if stopping to smell the roses triggers your seasonal allergy symptoms, knowing how to treat them (or even prevent them) can go a long way in preventing the misery that comes with symptoms like nasal congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Want to call open season on your allergy symptoms? Give SinuSonic a try!
- “Busy Wildfire Season Predicted, Time to Prepare Is Now.” American Red Cross, www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2022/wildfire-season-off-to-early-start-critical-to-prepare-now.html.