Why are allergies worse in warmer months?

Warm, dry conditions are the worst for allergies, and strong winds don't help

Grass, file. (vincentfinn99 via Flickr Creative Commons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Good news, it’s getting warmer! Bad news, that means you’re probably feeling the effects of spring allergies.

It’s no secret that seasonal allergies depend on the weather. Once temperatures start to rise, trees, plants and grasses all come alive. It’s the first step in allergy season.

“Airborne pollen exposure… all it takes is a few days for them to get triggered and then the horse is out of the barn, so to speak,” OHSU Dr. Anthony Montanaro said.

Dr. Montanaro, an allergy and immunology specialist, said it takes temperatures warmer than 55 degrees for pollen to get airborne, or for aerosolization to occur.

Warm, dry conditions are the worst for allergies, and strong winds don’t help.

But Dr. Montanaro said there are ways to stop allergens from taking over.

“It’s common that we see patients, regardless of the climatic conditions, but this has sort of been an unusual year,” Dr. Montanaro explained. “Whether this [allergy season] will be prolonged is anyone’s guess, but with climate change we’ve definitely seen a change in the nature of our pollen season.”

If you’re suffering now, tree pollen is to blame. The rain will bring some relief, but once conditions warm up and dry out, you can expect your allergies to get worse.

“Grass is by far and away the worst pollen,” Dr. Montanaro said. “People who are grass sensitive are the ones that suffer a lot in May and June.”

If you aren’t sure whether you’re suffering from allergies or a cold, Dr. Montanaro said to be on the lookout for one symptom that’s a sign of allergies: itching.

Contact Allergy Associates Research Center for help managing your allergies.