It’s summertime, the temperature’s rising and the sun’s shining. It also means plants, trees, shrubs and flowers are in their prime, which can mean misery for some people.
According to Allergy UK, more than 44% of UK adults currently suffer from at least one allergy and the number of sufferers is on the rise. What’s more, 48% of sufferers have more than one allergy.1
What are allergies?
Allergies are extremely common, especially among children. Some allergies go away as children get older, although is possible for them to still have them in adulthood too.2
It’s possible for adults to become allergic to things they’ve never been allergic to before.
Most allergic reactions are mild, e.g. sneezing, itchy eyes or a runny or blocked nose, can be kept under control through a combination of taking medication, using allergy relief products and keeping away from allergic triggers (if they’re known).
What allergies are worse in summer?
You may not realise this if you’re not an allergy sufferer, but allergies can be triggered all-year round, not just in the spring and summer months.3,4
Allergies can become worse during the summer because it’s when mould and dust allergies tend to hit, alongside pollen and grass allergies, and this creates a whole concoction of allergens that trigger just one allergy or multiple allergies at the same time.
And because the summertime is when we tend to spend more time outdoors, mow our lawns and open our doors and windows, it can result in more people’s mould, dust and pollen allergies being triggered.
The vast majority of the time, summer allergies are caused by pollen from grass, which tends to pollinate more in the heat and reaches peak levels during the summer months.
And if the pollen levels are high, you can guarantee the number of people experiencing summer allergy symptoms are high too.
- It’s really common for people, especially children, to have an allergy
- Allergies are caused by substances called allergens
- Allergies can become worse in the summer because it’s when mould, dust, pollen and grass levels are high
Can hot weather cause allergies?
Yes, the heat and some allergies do go hand-in-hand. As the weather gets warmer, all of the plants, weeds and flowers that give off pollen allergens grow bigger and disperse more pollen into the air around us.
Add strong sunlight and general wider pollution to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a whole host of allergic triggers going on, which can spell misery for people with allergies.5
What’s more, with all the heat, microscopic dust mites, which are renowned for single-handedly producing and spreading allergens on a widespread scale in bedding, fabric and carpets, thrive in warm and humid conditions.
As a result, this can lead to people suffering summer allergy symptoms that aren’t too dissimilar to spring allergy symptoms.
They include coughing, coughing, sneezing, wheezing; an itchy, stuffy, runny nose; a dry and scratchy throat.
Which month is worst for allergies?
Unfortunately, as we mentioned a bit earlier, it is possible for people to experience allergies all-year-round. As the seasons come and go, they directly impact the environment around us and the air that we breathe.
The months of May, June, July and August aren’t the best months for summer allergy sufferers.6
While it’s possible for tree pollination to begin as early as February, it can last until May. Grass pollen can also start to emerge at this time of year too in some parts of the country.
June is a key grass pollen month. As the days get longer and the temperature gets higher, people head outside more.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the temperature and rainfall amount, and even the time of day, will affect grass pollen levels, and your allergies.
Grass pollen does start to subside in July however, it’s also the start of fungus spores and seeds.
If you’re allergic to moulds (from fallen leaves, compost piles, grasses and grains) and spores, then you may experience your allergies flaring up all over again.
While it may be eight months into the year, August is a prime month for people, who are allergic to mould spores, which peak during hot, humid weather.
You might want to stay inside on days when the mould spore count is particularly high. But on the up side, August is when grass pollen counts typically fall to zero.7
- Hot weather and some allergies are interlinked
- As the weather gets warmer, plants, weeds and flowers that give off pollen allergens grow bigger and disperse more pollen into the air
- May to August are among the worst months for summer allergy sufferers
What helps with summer allergies?
If you suffer from a summer allergy, particularly more than one, summertime can potentially turn out to be a bit of a miserable affair for you.
However, suffering your way through the summer months, doesn’t have to be a given because there are a various things you can do to help ease your summer symptoms.8,9
Steering clear of allergy triggers
This is the best way to prevent allergy symptoms although it’s not necessarily that easy to do if you don’t know what’s triggering your allergy.
If you experience symptoms for more than two weeks, then they may be being caused by an allergy.
If this is the case, and your symptoms are getting in the way of everyday life, speak to your GP about the allergy relief options available to you.
Making your everyday routine ‘allergy-proof’
It’s not possible to just simply put your life on hold when you’re in the thick of summer allergy season, but there are some measures you can follow to try and minimise exposure to your allergic triggers.
For instance, you can:
- Track pollen counts
- Keep your doors and windows closed to reduce the amount of pollen and mould that comes into your home
- Regularly wash your bedding and vacuum your carpets and rugs
- Shower and change your clothes as soon as you get in from being outside
- Make sure humidity levels don’t get too high in your house
There are several medicines, some of which are available over the counter and some of which are available via prescription, to help control symptoms of allergic reactions. They include:
- Antihistamines – they can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- Decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays and liquids can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- Lotions and creams - such as moisturising creams (emollients). They can help reduce skin redness and itchiness
- Steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets can help reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
If you feel that medication could help you manage your allergies and relieve your symptoms, speak to your GP first about it.
They will be able to advise you on the most suitable, and effective, option based on your symptoms.
- There are several ways you can manage your allergy symptoms
- They include identifying and avoiding your allergy triggers
- As well as taking medication and using other allergy relief products
3 products that can help with summer allergies
Sterimar’s nasal spray improves breathing and enhances the quality of sleep, as well as cleanses and eliminates impurities (dust, mucus, allergens).
It also helps prevents ear, nose and throat disorders by strengthening the nasal lining's defence.
For easy breathing and to moisturise the nasal lining:
- Keeping the head straight, gently put the nozzle in the nostril.
- Spray once or twice in each nostril.
- Let any excess solution flow out and then blow your nose.
For a deeper cleansing of the nasal cavities:
- Keeping the head tilted to one side, gently put the nozzle in the upper nostril.
- Dispense a prolonged spray.
- Let any excess solution flow out and then blow your nose.
- After each use, clean the nozzle in hot water and dry.
- Use 2 to 6 times a day for as long as needed or as long as your doctor recommends.
HayMax is an organic, drug-free, pollen barrier balm, designed to help provide relief from hay fever, allergic rhinitis, pollen, dust or pet allergies.
Made from natural ingredients, trials have proven that this award-winning balm helps trap pollen, dust mite droppings and animal dander.
When applied to the nostrils, it traps a proportion of the allergen that would otherwise travel up the nasal tract, where it then causes the reactions.
- Apply a small amount at the bottom of nostrils.
- Re-apply regularly or when needed.
Weleda Hayfever Relief is a vegan-friendly, homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of hay fever and other forms of allergic rhinitis (allergy causing sneezing, blocked nose, itchy, red and watering eyes).
Adults, elderly and children over 12 years:
- Hold spray upright, a few centimetres from mouth.
- Apply 1 to 2 sprays into mouth up to three times daily.
Summer allergies can put a whole new slant on summertime. But the good news for allergy sufferers is that there are numerous measures they can take to either minimise or keep their allergies at bay during those summer months.
The advice in this article is for guidance only, so do make sure you speak to your GP first before implementing an allergy-fighting action plan, especially if your symptoms are particularly bad.
For more allergy insight, take a look at this article, ‘Is there a link between your allergies and your gut?’
Last updated: 16 June 2021