As February flies by and we continue to enjoy the ideal temperatures of the Phoenix winter season, there is another season we must be prepared for – allergy season. Allergy season in Arizona impacts many people each year.
Let’s dive into when it happens, what the culprits are, and some preventative measures you can take to survive and thrive all year long.
When is allergy season in Phoenix?
The answer to this isn’t as straightforward as you may hope. Mild winters and warming climates are making a direct impact on when exactly allergy season begins and for how long it lasts. Simply put – the warmer the temperature, the sooner things begin to bloom. Historically, however, one can expect to experience pollens arising around March.
Unfortunately, with Phoenix’s mild winters that typically don’t reach freezing temperatures, there’s no freezing of the pollen. So, that means there might be ‘something in the air’ impacting allergy sufferers almost all year long.
How does the weather affect your allergies?
The first allergen of the year throughout the state is tree pollen, typically beginning near the end of February and early March. These allergens will continue to be present through early summer.
Grass pollen is up next – arriving late spring to early summertime. Due to the timing of tree pollens’ exit and grass pollens’ arrival, May tends to be one of the most difficult months for those suffering from allergies.
Finally, weed pollen makes an appearance in the fall.
While the monsoon rains may bring temporary relief, that rain is actually just helping the desert plants bloom and creating mold spores which promote fungal growth, says Dr. Bart Leyko of the Allergy Asthma Clinic in Phoenix. Interestingly, a rule of thumb you can keep an eye out for is that any extra rainy season typically begets an allergy-filled season.
Common Allergens in Phoenix
- Palo Verde
- Bermuda grass
Weeds and Shrubs
- Russian Thistle
- Careless Weed
Non-native plants brought into Arizona significantly impact seasonal allergy symptoms. Some blame this as the sole purpose that Arizona transformed from a safe haven for those seeking refuge from their allergies to a place where you now may suffer from some type of pollen throughout the entire year.
Other allergens that impact many include mold, pet dander and fur, dust mites, and air pollution.
- Runny nose
- Irritated eyes (itchy, watery, red, or dark circles)
Long-term symptoms can include sleep deprivation and a lowered immune system. If allergies are left untreated, chronic inflammation occurs which can lead to infections as serious as pneumonia.
These symptoms can make a lasting impression on your personal life, affecting regular habits like driving, walking, or enjoying outdoor activities.
Finding Relief for Your Allergy Symptoms
Reduce Exposure to Allergens
- Don’t line dry your laundry outside.
- Wear a mask if you do work outside.
- Avoid spending too much time outdoors when it’s windy.
- Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
- Pay attention to weather forecasts and pollen counts to ensure you’re staying on top of making good choices for yourself.
- Practice prevention, protecting yourself before the allergens flare-up.
Prioritize Clean Air Indoors
- Use HEPA filter air purifiers and change filters appropriately.
- Clean your home often.
- Keep doors and windows closed, especially when windy.
- Wash your clothes and shower often.
- Use baby wipes on your pets’ fur and groom them regularly.
- Netipot/Saline solution. Using the nasal irrigation technique helps provide natural relief for many allergy sufferers. This is the process of flushing out the nasal cavity with saline solution, clearing out the nasal passages, and removing built-up allergens.
Try an OTC Remedy
Speak with your doctor to ensure you are using over-the-counter (OTC) medications correctly and appropriately for you and your body.
There are three main types of OTC remedies:
Antihistamines block histamine, a symptom-causing chemical that is released by your immune system when experiencing an allergic reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic. Antihistamines come in several different formats, including pills and liquids, nasal sprays, and eye drops.
This method is best for temporary and immediate relief of nasal and sinus congestion. There are multiple side effects that can be concerning, and these are especially not recommended for those with high blood pressure, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, and cardiovascular disease. Decongestants are typically in pills, liquids, and nasal sprays.
Corticosteroids help to relieve symptoms by suppressing allergy-related inflammation. This can be found as nasal sprays, inhalers, skin creams, eye drops, pills, and liquids.
We recommend always seeking the guidance of your medical provider before attempting any alternative remedies for your allergies.
- Acupuncture. While there may not be heavy evidence supporting this method, some people do report having found relief.
- Essential oils. Certain essential oils may reduce inflammation and bring temporary relief to some of your symptoms. Specifically, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils contain properties that may assist in reducing excess mucus. Diffusing these in your home can be an effective way to try this.
- Local honey. Honey specific to your area was made by bees which collect the pollens that impact your allergies. By ingesting a small amount daily, you can build up a tolerance to those allergens found in the honey.
Talk to Your Doctor
As your partner in health, Mercy Grace takes helping you through your seasonal allergies seriously. We will always provide recommendations for solutions to help get you feeling your best.
Stop the suffering before it begins. Book an appointment with our office today!