Summer allergies can strike at any age, mimicking a cold

With temperatures in the 80s, no one wants a runny nose and non-stop sneezing to put a damper on vacation plans and outdoor festivals. While many blame their symptoms on a summer cold, it could be something much more.

Many people think of spring and fall as hay fever season, but allergies can also strike during the summer. Depending on weather patterns, allergies can be more elevated during the summer than other seasons. For example, rainfall and humidity can promote mold growth.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the most common allergy triggers during the summer months are grass pollens and mold spores. In fact, mold can be more bothersome than pollen. Mold spores are everywhere and commonly outnumber pollen grains in the air even when the pollen season is at its worst.

Adults that have never had allergies can fall victim this summer. This sudden case of adult-onset allergies can be easy to mistake for a cold. Allergies can often disappear within childhood but return several years later.

Cold and allergy symptoms can often mirror one another. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you’re experiencing a cold or allergies:

  • Symptoms for two weeks or more? If you answered yes, you are more likely to have allergies. While colds might seem to linger forever, they are not as persistent as allergies.
  • Escalating symptoms? If your symptoms evolve, you might have a summer cold. Colds usually start with a stuffy nose, throat irritation and low-grade fever. Next comes the sneezing and a runny nose, with thickening mucus.
  • Green or clear? Mucus that turns yellow or green is often thought to indicate an infection, but it could also be seen with allergies. Clear mucus can be either the common cold or allergies.
  • Have an itch? Itchy eyes, throat, and nose, along with sneezing, usually mean allergy. An estimated 75 to 80 percent of asthmatics also have an allergy.

If symptoms are persistent, you should see a board-certified allergist for proper testing, diagnosis, and treatment. An allergist may prescribe immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, to reduce symptoms caused by allergies/asthma and reduce/eliminate the need for medications (especially steroids). This form of treatment can put you on the fast track to relief and is known to modify and prevent diseases progression. Make an appointment today.