About 25 million Americans are diagnosed with hay fever each year. This prevalent and treatable condition is most often seen during the spring and summer months, when pollen levels are highest.
At Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care – Houma, we understand how much hay fever can affect your daily life for what feels like months on end. If you experience hay fever yearly, knowing exactly how to prepare for the season can help mitigate or lessen symptoms.
Our urgent care facility in Houma is open seven days a week to diagnose and treat hay fever; just walk in.
What Is Hay Fever?
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a health condition that causes cold-like signs and symptoms.
The cause of hay fever is an allergic reaction to a specific type of allergen. Those normally include:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Ragweed pollen
Other nonweather-related triggers include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Spores from indoor and outdoor fungi
Hay fever symptoms and severity range from person to person but most often include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Itchy nose
- Scratchy throat or roof of the mouth
- Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes
- Postnasal drip
When Is Hay Fever Season?
The short answer is that it depends on where you live and what you’re allergic to.
Allergy season can start as early as January and linger into November for those living in southern and warmer states. For those in more northern states, where colder weather is more prevalent, allergies typically start around March and extend through September, especially when it comes to pollen and ragweed.
Here’s a general breakdown by allergen:
- Tree pollen season runs March through June.
- Grass pollen is at its height in June, July, August and, sometimes, September.
- Weed pollen season is August through October. A hard freeze is generally required to kill off the weeds.
- Certain outdoor molds peak during the autumn.
Most allergen relief can be felt from November to early February.
Some people may experience hay fever symptoms year-round or experience increased symptoms at random times throughout the year based on the allergen they are allergic to and exposed to.
Three Ways to Prepare for Hay Fever Season
Allergies tend to have a way of ruining special events or daily activities. They come in like a lion and linger longer than needed, especially as the weather becomes warmer and you want to spend more time outdoors.
The good news is that hay fever doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love if you prepare ahead of time.
Here are three ways to reduce your risk of hay fever symptoms before they start.
1. Keep your windows and doors closed.
We know that warmer, brighter days bring fresh air, but often, it’s riddled with allergens, like pollen. If you’re allergic, your symptoms will flare when the fresh air and pollen come directly in through your windows and attach to all of your furniture and belongings. As hard as it may be, we encourage you to resist the urge to open windows to reduce your exposure to allergens.
2. Avoid bringing allergens into the house.
As we walk in and out of the house, allergens, like pollen or ragweed, can stick to us like mud on the bottom of our shoes. If you’re highly susceptible to hay fever symptoms, treat your home like a safe space and remove any shoes or clothing that may be contaminated with pollen or other allergens at the door. Wash them after removal so that the allergens are not lingering in your home. It is important to know that pollen counts are highest in the early morning and at night, so if possible, go outside between those times.
3. Wear a mask and full-coverage sunglasses.
If you plan to spend the day outdoors raking leaves, mowing the lawn, playing with your kids or just enjoying the day, wearing a mask and protective sunglasses will protect your eyes, mouth and nose from taking in allergens. If you typically experience moderate to severe hay fever symptoms, we encourage you to premedicate using an antihistamine before your time outdoors.
Reducing your exposure and preparing ahead of time will mitigate your risk of experiencing hay fever symptoms.
When to Visit an Urgent Care for Hay Fever Symptoms
Although hay fever can often be treated at home using over-the-counter allergy medication, we recommend visiting us at Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care – Houma if your symptoms are severe, last longer than a week or are causing complications with other health conditions you currently have.
We offer a variety of urgent care services to treat your healthcare needs. We always welcome walk-in appointments and are open daily to help you feel better sooner.