Does ‘allergy season’ actually exist?
Are allergies seasonal or all year round?
With over 150 different allergens out there it would seem that they’re pretty hard to avoid, whatever time of year.
The answer is that they are seasonal, but with so many allergies and hayfever you’ll find something to sneeze at most of the time!
So, here’s our quick rundown of the most common allergies and when you can expect to experience them:
Good news! there isn’t much tree or grass pollen around at this time of year, so you’re unlikely to suffer from hayfever. At this time of year, the key triggers for allergies are dust mites, mould and pets, rather than pollen.
Hayfever isn’t entirely uncommon at this time of year, despite the weather still being a bit chilly.
Around 25% of people with hayfever in the UK are allergic to tree pollen, which is seasonal. Along with Hazel and Alder that begin releasing pollen in January, the pollen season for Willow and Elm trees starts in February. Pollen released by Hazel trees peaks at the end of February.
Due to the weather, most people will be spending the majority of their time indoors, where dust mites, mould and pets can trigger allergies.
As we transition into Spring, March brings hayfever. The peak time for tree pollen from Willow, Elm, Birch, Poplar and Alder are during this month. Many varieties of flowers also start to bloom around now, which means more pollen. Dust mites, mould and pets continue to be triggers indoors.
It’s the middle of springtime, which brings with it a bonanza of pollen, making hayfever in April very common. Tree pollen season is in full swing, with Birch, Plane, Ash and Oak at their peak in terms of pollen release. Flowers are blooming too, bringing their pollen into the mix. Indoors, dust mites, mould and pets are the main triggers.
In May, we typically experience the beginning of grass pollen season, so hayfever is very common.
It can depend on your location – it starts later and doesn’t last as long in the north, compared to the south of Britain.Urban areas tend to have lower pollen counts than places in the countryside and inland areas tend to have higher pollen counts compared to on the coast. Pine and Oil Seed Rape tree pollen also peaks this month.
And of course, the usual suspects are still indoor triggers – dust mites, mould and pets.
Depending on the weather, the year’s first peak of grass pollen occurs now, usually in the first two weeks of June.
Generally, when temperatures are high and rainfall is low, pollen production is high. Pollen is at its peak for Dock, Nettle and Lime Trees this month. There’s a lot around that can trigger hayfever in June.
Within the home, dust mites, mould and pets continue to trigger allergies.
July sees grass pollen take over from tree pollen as the prime allergen. Grass pollen affects around 90% of allergic rhinitis sufferers, so it is vital to check the pollen count regularly. Other plants are still also a bother though, with Nettle pollen at its peak during the month, and Mugwort reaching its peak at rhinitis sufferers, so it is vital to check the pollen count regularly so you are informed and can take precautionary measures accordingly.
As there is so much pollen outside, you may want to stay inside to avoid it, but dust mites, mould and pets can still trigger allergies here.
Mugwort and Nettle pollen are still at their peak in the first week of August, and the grass pollen season is still at its peak until the middle of the month.
The indoor triggers of dust mites, mould and pets remain, but there may be an increase in mould spores this month as a result of harvesting.
Grass pollen season and weed pollen season both end this month, and tree pollen should be lower from now until the end of the year, so outdoor allergens shouldn’t cause too much hayfever this month.
As the seasons change, Autumn allergies kick in during the later part of the month. The weather becomes cooler, and crucially damper, which can increase airborne mould spores. Dust mites and pets are also triggers.
Damp weather increases the number of airborne mould spores, while fungal spores can be found both inside and outside the home. Most Autumn allergies in the UK are down to mould spores and dust mites. Outdoors, these are mainly in woodland areas, forests and gardens, while house dust, ripe fruit and house plant soil can harbour fungi.
Indoors, pets are still an issue, alongside dust mites and mould spores.
Hayfever is not very common in November, as pollen shouldn’t be too much of an issue at this time of year. However, the combination of damp winter weather and having the heating on can create the perfect environment for dust mites and mould spores, so keep an eye on moisture levels in the house.
As there shouldn’t be much pollen around, you’re unlikely to experience traditional hayfever in December. However, dust mites, mould spores and pets can still trigger allergy symptoms. The common cold can also masks the symptoms of winter allergies during the colder months.