What should I do to prepare for this allergy season?

As the trees bloom and the weather warms, many individuals begin to experience the familiar symptoms of seasonal allergies. At Coalinga Medical Center, we understand the impact that allergy season can have on your daily life.

Allergic reactions commonly referred to as seasonal allergies, hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, occur when airborne allergens such as tree, grass, and weed pollen, along with mold spores, enter the nasal passages. This exposure triggers an immune response, resulting in symptoms like sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, and nasal congestion.

Individuals experience these symptoms with varying degrees of severity, largely influenced by their specific immune system sensitivity and environmental factors. The presence and impact of these allergens are also heavily dependent on one’s geographic location and the prevailing weather conditions. For instance, tree pollen is typically the first to affect individuals at the start of the spring season, followed by grass pollen peaking during the late spring and summer months, and weed pollen spreading during the autumn.

As we approach the summer of 2024, understanding the trends and statistics related to seasonal allergies becomes crucial for those residing in the United States. Each year, approximately 19.2 million adults and 5.2 million children are diagnosed with hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The economic impact is also significant, with allergies accounting for more than $18 billion annually in healthcare costs.

Seasonal Trends for Summer 2024

The summer of 2024 is expected to witness varying pollen levels across different regions in the U.S. Climatologists predict an increase in average temperatures during the summer months, which can lead to longer pollen production periods. Additionally, regions that experienced above-average rainfall in the spring might see higher grass pollen levels, as moisture supports the growth of grasses.

For those in urban areas, it’s important to note that heat islands can exacerbate the intensity and duration of pollen seasons. Increased carbon dioxide levels from urban pollution also potentially boost the production of pollen from plants.

Localized Forecasts and Precautions

  • Northeast. Known for its dense urban settings and varied climate, the Northeast can expect moderate to high pollen levels from grasses and weeds. Precautionary measures include monitoring local air quality indexes and staying indoors on days with high pollen alerts.
  • Midwest. This region often faces a significant amount of grass pollen. With the Great Lakes influencing weather patterns, sporadic rainfall might lower pollen counts temporarily, offering brief relief. Get to know more information here.
  • South. Hotter temperatures and high humidity can lead to prolonged pollen production. Residents should be particularly cautious, as these conditions contribute to high pollen levels, especially from grasses and weeds.
  • West. The West’s diverse climate zones mean pollen levels can vary greatly. However, areas with drought conditions may experience less pollen but increased dust, which can also aggravate allergy symptoms.

Effective Strategies for Managing Allergies in Summer 2024

  • Monitor Local Pollen and Air Quality Reports: Use resources like the National Allergy Bureau for daily pollen counts and the Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) for air quality indexes.
  • Adjust Outdoor Activities: Based on daily forecasts, plan outdoor activities for times when pollen counts are lower, typically after rainfalls or during late evenings.
  • Medical Consultation: For those with severe allergies, scheduling an appointment with an allergist might be beneficial. An allergist can offer advice tailored to the specific regional challenges and may recommend preseasonal treatment plans.

Medications and Methods of Treatment

When managing seasonal allergies, especially in anticipation of the summer of 2024, it’s essential to be familiar with the main categories of medications used to alleviate symptoms. These medications are designed to address specific symptoms and are widely recommended by healthcare professionals for their efficacy and safety. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine which medication is appropriate for your specific situation.


One of the most common treatments for allergy symptoms are antihistamines. These medications work by blocking histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergy symptoms. There are several types of antihistamines available, both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription. Examples include cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine. Each has a different duration of action and varying degrees of sedative effects, with newer generations generally causing less drowsiness.

Nasal Corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroids are widely regarded as the most effective medication for treating nasal allergy symptoms. They work by reducing inflammation in the nasal passages, thus alleviating symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose. Common examples of these medications include fluticasone, budesonide, and mometasone, which are typically used on a daily basis throughout the allergy season for best results. According to data from GoodRx, the prices for treatments like fluticasone and mometasone start at around $20.39 (walmart.com or happyfamilystore.org) for a month’s supply, depending on the specific product and dosage required.


For short-term relief of nasal stuffiness, decongestants can be helpful. They work by narrowing blood vessels to reduce swelling and congestion in the nasal passages. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are the most common decongestants. However, they should be used with caution as they can increase blood pressure and may cause side effects like jitteriness and insomnia.

Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists

Another class of medication used for allergies are leukotriene receptor antagonists. These drugs block chemicals called leukotrienes, which contribute to allergic reactions. Montelukast is a well-known example in this category, often prescribed when nasal corticosteroids and antihistamines are not sufficient on their own.

Mast Cell Stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers, such as cromolyn sodium, prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals from mast cells in the body, thus reducing allergy symptoms. These are available as nasal sprays and eye drops and are best used before symptoms start, as they can prevent allergic reactions from occurring.


For long-term relief, allergen immunotherapy can be considered. This treatment involves regular injections of allergen extracts, aimed at desensitizing the body’s response to them. Over time, immunotherapy can significantly reduce the severity of allergy symptoms and the need for medications.

Preventive Measures and Preparedness

Stay Informed about Pollen Counts

Keeping track of daily pollen counts can significantly help in managing your exposure to allergens. Many weather websites and apps provide real-time pollen forecasts. On days when the pollen count is high, try to stay indoors, especially during midday and afternoon when pollen levels are at their peak.

Optimize Your Home Environment

Make your home a sanctuary from allergens by keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons to prevent allergens from entering. Use air conditioning in your home and car to filter out pollen and maintain a cool environment. Regularly clean air filters and air ducts in your home to ensure they are free from dust and mold.

Adopt Personal Protective Practices

When you do go outside during allergy season, wearing sunglasses can help shield your eyes from pollen. Additionally, a hat can prevent pollen from settling in your hair. Upon returning home, change your clothes and take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.

Plan Your Outdoor Activities

Pollen levels are usually highest in the early morning and late afternoon. If you are planning outdoor activities, try to schedule them when pollen counts are lower, such as late evening or after a heavy rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.

Medical Management of Allergies

Over-the-counter antihistamines can be effective in controlling mild allergy symptoms. For more severe symptoms, consider consulting with an allergy specialist who may recommend stronger medications or allergy shots. These treatments, known as immunotherapy, can significantly reduce your sensitivity to allergens.

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