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When Is Allergy Season In Arizona

by Dan Hughes
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When Is Allergy Season In Arizona

When Is Allergy Season In Arizona

The first time I ever heard of allergies was in high school health class. We sat around a table with our eyes closed as the instructor led us through a series of questions about whether or not we’d had hay fever before. I lied, because I didn’t want to be known by my classmates as “Hay Fever Girl.” The truth is that I’ve never been sick with allergies; I’m allergic to dust mites only.
But what’s really interesting about this whole conversation is how it illustrates just how much things have changed over the past few years. Now, people all across the country talk about being allergic to everything from pollen to pet dander to their own sweat. And while everyone may be affected differently by these allergens, there are some commonalities between them all — such as the fact that they’re irritating your nose and causing you to sneeze.
Allergies occur when your body mistakes normal substances for harmful invaders, like viruses or bacteria. When your immune system responds to an allergen attack, it releases chemicals called histamines into the blood stream, which cause inflammation. This process then leads to swelling of tissues and fluids, including mucus membranes (the lining inside your nose) and your airways (your breathing passages). Your nasal tissue swells so much that it blocks airflow, making it difficult to breathe. You also start to develop stuffy noses, congestion, headaches, fatigue and other symptoms.
Allergies can affect anyone at any age. But many people get allergies later in life, usually starting around the age of 30. Some experts believe that those who grow up in hot, humid climates are more likely to suffer than those who live in cooler places with less humidity. There are even theories that suggest that children who spend lots of time outdoors during warm weather may be more prone to allergies. That said, no one knows exactly why allergies strike some people but not others.
And if you think allergies are annoying, wait until you hear about food allergies. They can be fatal! Food allergies are becoming increasingly common among kids and adults alike. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, approximately 3 million Americans have food allergies. And of those, 1 million are allergic to peanuts alone.
To help prevent allergies, try to minimize your exposure to certain types of foods, chemical agents, animal products, environmental irritants and microbes. For example, avoid contact with cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke. Don’t go outside without wearing protective clothing that covers your skin and hair. Keep pets out of bedrooms where possible. Clean house regularly to keep indoor surfaces free of dust and dirt particles. If you work on construction sites or farms, wear a mask to limit your exposure to organic matter. Wash bedding and linens often. Use a vacuum cleaner with a bag instead of a cloth filter.
If you do become allergic to something, don’t ignore it. Seek immediate medical attention if necessary. A doctor will prescribe medications or recommend changes in lifestyle that might reduce your symptoms.
So now that you know what allergies are and how serious they can be, here’s a quick look at when allergy season typically hits in Arizona.
It’s true that the seasons change throughout Arizona, with different temperatures and precipitation patterns prevailing in different areas. However, the state does experience two distinct seasons overall: cool season and warm season. During the cool season, which lasts from November to March, daytime highs generally range between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows stay above freezing, though, thanks to the sun’s heat.
During the warm season, which runs from April to September, daytimes can soar well into the 90s F, especially along the coast. Because of the intense sunlight, the temperature difference between night and day becomes smaller. Nighttime lows can drop below freezing.
Typically, spring is the worst time of year for allergies in Arizona. It’s partly due to increased outdoor activities, such as yard maintenance and recreational sports. Also, since the trees are beginning to leaf out and bloom again, people tend to walk around barefoot and/or roll down their car windows — both of which increase airborne pollen levels. Pollen grains from ragweed, mugwort and tumbleweeds are easily inhaled.
While summer in Arizona is hotter and drier than fall, it is still warmer than winter. Temperatures average between 60 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest months. Summertime rainfall ranges between 0.25 inches and 2.5 inches per week.
Because the days are longer, people tend to spend more time outside, exposing themselves to allergens. High temperatures encourage mold growth, too. People can take preventive measures, however, such as using an anti-allergy medication, avoiding exercise when it’s extremely hot, staying indoors, and keeping doors shut and windows cracked.
Like spring, fall is warmer and dryer than summer. Daytime highs average between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows stay above freezing. Rainfall is light, averaging between 0.25 inches and 0.75 inches per week.
Just like spring, autumn is another peak allergy period in Arizona. As trees lose their leaves, pollen production increases dramatically. Ragweed, oak, and tulip trees are the main culprits. Grasshoppers and ants also contribute to pollination. To protect yourself, consider taking an anti-histamine pill daily. Avoid getting wet feet; use a pollen-free zone netting or face mask. If you garden, wear gloves and long sleeves. If you’re going to be working outside, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or bandana.
Wintertime is colder and drier than fall and spring, with daytime highs ranging between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows are below freezing. Precipitation averages between 0.25 inches and 1 inch per week.
As the snow falls, the number of airborne pollen grains drops significantly. Trees and shrubs are dormant, and the ground stays covered. Grasslands become brown and dormant, too. Most wild flowers die off. Even pests hibernate, reducing competition for food sources and decreasing the likelihood of bites and stings. So, unless you’re allergic to cockroaches, mice droppings, ticks, mosquitoes, wasps or bees, you’ll probably be fine.
However, if you’re allergic to pollen, cold weather won’t help. You should take allergy medicine anytime the thermometer dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter is also a prime asthma season, particularly in parts of the state near mountains and desert. Cold air tends to compress the air sacs in your lungs, leading to difficulty breathing.
Although spring is considered the worst time of year for allergies in Arizona, it isn’t necessarily the best. With smart planning, you can reduce the risk of suffering from seasonal allergies every month of the year.

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