In the midwest and southern regions of the US, the weather is heating up, and the beginning of summer is quickly approaching. Allergies are usually associated with the spring or fall because pollen is active during these times and causes allergy symptoms in many people across the US. However, summer allergies are also common and are caused by the same allergens as in other seasons. Summer allergy symptoms may be confused for a summer cold or even COVID-19.
Can summer allergies cause a sore throat?
Common allergy symptoms are sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and itchy or watery eyes. Allergies can cause a sore throat due to post-nasal drip, another typical symptom of pollen or mold allergies. When sinus congestion occurs, mucus may build up and drain down your throat, causing coughing and a sore, scratchy throat.
One of the main signs of COVID-19 is a fever, along with a cough or shortness of breath. Allergies will not cause a fever, making it one of the primary differences between allergies and COVID-19 patients should know. A cold may occur a few times a year, whereas allergies recur seasonally based on your triggers. Summer allergies are usually caused by pollen from grass, which reaches moderate to high levels throughout the summer months. Ragweed is a common fall allergen, but it also begins to bloom in late July and August. Mold spores and stinging insects are other allergy culprits during the summer. As you and your family spend more time outdoors, they may encounter more insects and environmental allergens, but you can reduce exposure to minimize symptoms.
How to stop summer allergies?
Avoiding allergy triggers is the best way to prevent allergy symptoms. If you experience any of the above symptoms for longer than two weeks, then allergies may be the cause, and we recommend getting an allergy test. Skin testing is the most reliable form of allergy testing. Our physicians will use a combination of family history and the skin testing results to diagnose an allergy.
Once you know what you are allergic to, you can take steps to minimize exposure to those allergens:
- Track pollen counts
- Keep doors and windows closed to reduce the amount of pollen and mold that comes indoors
- Switch out air filters seasonally
- Wash bedding and vacuum carpets and rugs
- Shower and change clothes when you come in from working or enjoying time outside
- Keep an eye on humidity levels in your house
If complete avoidance is impossible (as it is with pollen allergies) our physicians can prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms and may recommend immunotherapy to treat the root cause of your allergies. It’s important to start taking medication before the allergy season begins and continue to take medication as prescribed to benefit fully. Immunotherapy is known as allergy shots and works to build your tolerance to your allergens to help you find relief.
When do summer allergies go away?
Pollen in our region won’t disappear entirely until mid to late October with the first frost. However, depending on the allergens you are allergic to, you may see symptom relief sooner. Grass pollen counts typically fall to zero during August.
Don’t suffer from untreated allergies in the summer or any time of the year. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board-certified allergists, and move towards a clearer tomorrow.