July is probably one of your least favorite months if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Grasses and weeds are all in bloom and the warmer weather and longer days provide a perfect breeding ground for pollen. The pollen might make it challenging to spend time outdoors without irritation.
Thankfully, you can do a few things to help ease your symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about July allergies, their causes, symptoms, and what you can do to stay comfortable all season long.
What Is Hay Fever Allergy Season?
Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis, occurs during specific times of the year. Mostly, allergies occur when grass, weeds, and trees release pollen into the air. Seasonal allergies result from your immune system overreacting to something typically harmless, like pollen.
When your body comes into contact with allergens, it releases chemicals such as histamine into your bloodstream to defend your body against what is seen as a harmful invader. This overreaction causes symptoms familiar to allergy sufferers, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies in July?
July is part of the summer allergy season and the start of the weed pollen season. During July there is an abundance of grasses and weeds that release pollen. You should take precautions to limit exposure to allergens that may trigger July allergies.
Grass Pollen Allergies
During late spring and throughout summer, grass pollen allergies are a common problem. Because grass pollen is so light, most grass species release pollen that is blown miles away by the wind.
This means that even if you’re not allergic to the grass in your local area, you can still inhale allergenic pollen from other locations. Your symptoms may be more pronounced during dry, windy days than when the weather is cold.
Different types of grass can cause allergies. These include:
- Rye grass
- Sweet vernal
You may be allergic to one or more of these grasses. An allergy test is the best way to find out which grass triggers your allergy.
Weed Pollen Allergies
Weed pollen is a common category of allergens in the U.S., and since there are various types of weeds, you may be allergic to one or several species. Like other pollen, weed pollen is light and will travel long distances during windy days. This means you can still have an allergic reaction even when there is no allergenic weed in your area.
You can find the weeds that trigger allergies anywhere, including construction sites, forests, yards, and the roadside. Some of the common weeds that are likely to trigger an allergic reaction include:
- Sheep sorrel
- Russian thistle (tumbleweed)
- English plantain
If you’re unsure which weed is triggering your allergies, schedule an appointment with an allergist for a test.
Common Allergy Symptoms in Summer
Summer allergies can cause a myriad of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. If you have seasonal allergies, you will experience symptoms such as:
- Runny or itchy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Ear congestion
- Itching in the throat
- Difficulty breathing
These are just some common symptoms you may experience if you have allergies. Your symptoms may be worse if you have other existing conditions like asthma.
How Are Summer Allergies Diagnosed?
If you think you might be experiencing allergy symptoms, it’s important to get tested. Doing so will give you a confirmed diagnosis and help you find long-term allergy relief. Testing can be done through a skin prick test or an at-home allergy test.
Skin Prick Test
When most people think of allergy testing, they think of the skin prick test. A skin prick test involves an allergist pricking or scraping patients' skin with a needle tipped with various allergens.
After scraping the skin, the allergist observes the patient for signs of an allergic reaction, such as itchiness, redness, or swelling. If your body reacts with one or all of these signs, you're likely allergic to that specific substance.
Skin prick testing can be a time-consuming and uncomfortable approach to allergy testing. Identifying an allergist and booking an appointment alone can take several weeks to months. Not only will you have to take this test in person at an allergist’s office, but you’ll have to deal with itchy hives afterward if you end up being allergic to one of the allergens you were exposed to during the test.
At-Home Allergy Test
Unlike skin prick tests, at-home allergy testing kits are more user-friendly and pain-free. Here's how they work:
- Order Wyndly's at-home allergy test online. Our CLIA-certified tests are shipped directly to your doorstep.
- Take the allergy test and send it back to us. It just takes one quick finger prick test to provide a blood sample. Then, you'll mail it back when you're done.
- Receive your personalized treatment plan. Our doctor will interpret your test results, develop an allergy profile, and then meet with you to discuss your personalized treatment plan. An allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way, you know exactly what you're allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms.
An at-home allergy test is a comfortable, simple solution that gives you an in-depth understanding of your environmental and seasonal allergies.
How to Prepare for Summer Allergy Season?
Throughout summer, it's important to take steps to prepare for the upcoming allergy season. Simple habits like showering or cleaning more frequently can go a long way. Adopting such habits will help you to minimize your symptoms and make the most of the warmer months.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep windows closed and use A/C: Pollen travels through the air with ease. Ensure it doesn't float its way into your house by keeping windows closed and running the A/C. You’ll also want to think about equipping your A/C with a HEPA filter to further purify the air inside your home.
- Check pollen counts: Before heading outdoors, look at the local pollen count. If it's high, wear a dust mask or sunglasses to protect yourself from exposure.
- Shower after being outside: Pollen can cling to your hair and skin after being outside. To avoid bringing it into your home, take a shower as soon as you come inside.
- Wash clothes: Because pollen can stay on fabric, it's important to wash your clothes after spending time outside. So, be sure to toss clothes in the wash as soon as you can.
- Take your shoes off when you come inside: Pollen can also accumulate on your shoes. To avoid tracking it throughout your home, take them off as soon as you come inside.
- Wipe pets down: When your pet goes outside, they can be exposed to pollen and bring it back in with them. To avoid spreading it, wipe your pet down with a wet cloth when they come back inside. Giving them more baths during the allergy season can also be helpful.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies in July?
Limiting exposure can be a great way to limit your chances of experiencing allergies. However, at some point, you will come into contact with your trigger substance. It's important to have an effective treatment plan in place in addition to taking measures to reduce exposure.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are an accessible and affordable way to temporarily manage mild to moderate allergy symptoms.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by temporarily blocking histamine, a chemical that your body releases in response to an allergic trigger. This relieves symptoms like itchiness, sneezing, and a runny nose.
- Eye drops: If you tend to experience red, watery, or itchy eyes with allergies, then eye drops can provide you with short-term relief from these symptoms.
- Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays clear pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages and reduce inflammation. This relieves symptoms like congestion.
If OTC options aren’t working, or you want a long-term solution, sublingual immunotherapy might be right for you.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a type of allergy treatment that results in long-term relief from your symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy involves placing drops or tablets of an allergen extract under your tongue daily. Over time, your immune system becomes desensitized and you stop reacting when exposed to allergens.
SLIT is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional allergy shots. It's just as effective, less invasive, and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
Summer allergies are no fun for anyone, but you don’t have to put up with them. If you're looking for a long-term solution, sublingual immunotherapy could be the answer. At Wyndly, our allergy doctors will create a personalized treatment plan to help you beat your allergies.
Take our quick survey today to see how Wyndly can help you live an allergy-free life!