Winter is (hopefully) coming to an end, and with that comes new sights (shoes that aren't made of rubber!), smells (all that garbage stank that was held in by the snow!), and sneezing (your allergies returning with a vengeance!). You just got over your winter cold, and now you're sniffling for a totally new reason: your allergies are back. Because of the return of so many lovely leafy flowers and plants in April, it might seem like this is the peak season for allergies. But when are allergies the worst, if that time even exists? Can you plan for your allergies to set in during a specific month, or season, or even hour? And if so, what can you do to prepare?
Unfortunately, there aren't simple answers to these questions. The biggest variable to keep in mind when thinking about allergies is the sheer number of airborne allergies a person can have. The "worst" allergy month for you will depend primarily upon what allergy triggers you have, since they can rotate seasonally.
You can be allergic to dust, pollen, grass, or mold, to name some of the more common allergens.
Depending on which of these triggers a sneezing attack in your body, the season in which you come into contact with it the most will be your worst month. For example, if your allergies tend to come on when the air is thick with pollen, then it's likely that your allergies will be the worst during the spring, according to Everyday Health, and could potentially carry through to the fall, depending on where you live.
In contrast, if you get all itchy and sniffly when you're near a ton of airborne dust, then winter might be your bad season for allergies, since you're stuck inside for a longer part of the day, and dust might accumulate in your apartment when the windows are shut.
There are even more variables to take into consideration, though, than simply considering which season your allergen is likely to be the most prevalent.
According to HowStuffWorks, the pollen count in any given area is heavily determined by factors like humidity, temperature, and wind.
This is why most areas have pollen alerts and measuring systems so you can log in and check how bad the pollen count is for that specific day.
In terms of the time of day, that, again, will depend on what you're allergic to. According to AllergyCosmos, grass pollen is released into the air in the early morning, while birch trees release pollen in the early evening. To make it even more complicated, pollen will start to spread through the air when the temperature cools, which is why you might start sneezing at night if your window is open. Again, though, it all depends on what, exactly, you're allergic to.
Similarly, if you have a serious mold or dust allergy, then the severity of your allergic reaction will be extremely dependent upon how much of these things are floating around in the air your breathe, particularly at home. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, these simple things can help you combat a dust or mold allergy in your apartment: wash your sheets often, avoid carpeting if possible, and minimize the humidity in your home as much as you can, with the help of things like a dehumidifier.
Bottom line: Allergies are totally personal, and the best thing you can do is pay attention to how your allergies affect you throughout the year.
Even better, try to mark your allergic reactions on a calendar, so you can notice any cyclical patterns over the years, and then you can try to prepare for them ahead of time.
It's also important to be aware of the things you can control, as well as the things you can't control. Here are some examples of things you can't control: the humidity where you live, the length of seasons, and the pollen count on any given day.
As for the things you can control, at least to a certain extent, you can determine the cleanliness of where you live, the amount of sleep you get (the healthier your immune system, the better off you are to fight your allergies), and whether your windows are open or shut during pollen season.
Above all, knowledge is power. The more attention you pay to your allergies, the better you'll feel each day.