Allergies Types Hayfever

Hayfever: Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. Your eyes water, your nose stuffs up, and your throat itches. Hayfever is an allergic reaction to airborne pollen: Tiny particles plants use to reproduce. Pollen easily floats on winds and breezes to reach other plants, and plants produce it in abundance, as any hayfever sufferer can tell you. Pollens are some of the most common airborne allergens.

Common Hayfever Symptoms

  • sneezing
  • runny and/or stuffy nose
  • postnasal drip (and the associated throat irritation)
  • “plugged” ears
  • watery eyes
  • itchy eyes, nose, ears, throat, and sometimes skin
  • difficulty sleeping and fatigue.

Hayfever Allergens: Trees, Grasses and Weeds

Mowing the lawn can be a problem for people who have allergies.Pollen triggers seasonal allergies because plants pollinate at specific times of the year. Trees tend to pollinate before grasses or weeds. If you have an allergy to oak tree pollen, for example, you’ll notice symptoms sooner than someone allergic to ragweed pollen. Trees pollinate in the spring, while grasses and weeds begin pollination in the late spring and continue through the summer. Of course, “spring” is a relative term, depending on where you live. While people in northern climates might not worry about seasonal allergies until May, further south, pollen may be in the air as early as January.

North America has a number of allergy-causing plants. The most common culprits are listed below.

Trees Grasses Weeds
  • ash
  • box elder
  • elm
  • hickory
  • pecan
  • mountain cedar
  • oak trees.
  • Bermuda grass
  • Johnson grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • orchard grass
  • redtop grass
  • sweet vernal grass
  • timothy hay.
  • English plantain
  • lamb’s quarters
  • ragweed
  • redroot pigweed
  • sagebrush
  • tumbleweed.

Mold Spores and the Seasons

Mold spores can also cause hayfever. Mold grows in wet soil, rotting leaves, and almost any place that’s warm and humid. In northern climates, mold spores begin to grow after the snow thaws, and can be found in the air until late fall. In warmer damp areas, mold spores can be in the air year round.

Watching Pollen Count and Other Tips for Managing Seasonal Allergies

Unlike many other allergies caused by airborne allergens, avoiding seasonal allergies is difficult. Plants produce enormous amounts of pollen, and it spreads quickly over large areas. However, if you suffer from ragweed allergies, or any of the other common pollen allergies, you can take some steps to minimize your contact with allergens.

Learn to watch the weather: The pollen count is likely to be higher on clear, dry, warm days than it is on rainy, cloudy and calm days. On days when the pollen count is high, limit your time outdoors. Keep your windows closed, both at home and in the car. If you’ve been outdoors, shower when you get in, and change clothes immediately. Clothing can trap pollen and other allergens.

Gardening requires some forethought. You should have someone else do the raking and mowing, two activities that can stir up both pollen and mold spores. If you have to garden yourself, wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling allergens.

Using Air Quality Indicators

Pollen counts tell you the amount of various allergens in the air. You can access them online to find airborne allergen levels for many geographic areas. The pollen count reports are organized in categories such as trees, grasses, weeds and molds, so if you suffer from a very specific allergy, you can look up acceptable levels that apply to you.

You have to be aware of your own reactions to allergens to read pollen count reports accurately. For instance, if you are highly sensitive, a “moderate” warning might indicate that you need to take precautions, while another allergy sufferer might not worry about reactions until the pollen count was listed as “high.”