The Midwest has a lot to offer, even if part of that offering is a coat of pollen on your car during the spring! Today, we are going to be taking a look at Missouri’s allergy season in order to learn its peak, timing, potential symptoms, and more. Plus, we are going to learn some of the best ways to handle the sniffles before it’s too late! Let’s get started.
Missouri’s Allergy Season
The peak months for seasonal allergies in Missouri are April, May, June, and September. During these months, drastically limiting your time outdoors or going out in the evening is since that’s when pollen counts tend to be lower.
Missouri’s allergy season can present itself in different ways, depending on the allergen you are sensitive to. While pollen allergies tend to peak in spring, summer, and fall, indoor allergies can be a year-round issue. Missouri’s location in the Midwest Mississippi Valley and Southeastern Coastal Plains regions makes it a diverse area for allergens, each region has its own specific allergens and allergy seasons.
Spring is when tree pollen is at its highest, with common allergens including oak, maple, and cedar. Summer is typically when grass pollen is at its highest, and fall is the season when ragweed pollen is at its peak, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. The length of the allergy season in Missouri may vary each year depending on the weather. A warm winter could start the allergy season early, while a colder spring could delay it.
The Plants that Cause Missouri’s Allergy Season
Missouri is situated in two main allergy regions, the Midwest Mississippi Valley and the Southeastern Coastal Plains, which both have a diverse range of allergens and allergy seasons. These regions are further divided into different subregions, such as the Northern Great Plains, the Southern Great Plains, the Northeastern mixed forest, and the Midwest Mississippi Valley. Each of these regions has its own specific allergens and peak seasons.
Some common allergens across Missouri include ryegrass, timothy grass, Bermuda grass, fescue grass, orchard grass, ragweed, pigweed, thistle, marsh elder, oak tree, hickory tree, ash tree, cedar tree, and cottonwood tree. Additionally, different cities and counties have their own allergens and plant pollinators.
For example, in Kirksville, spring allergies come from hickory, oak, walnut, ash, maple, and mulberry trees. In summer, grass allergies take over with ryegrass, bent, timothy, and orchard pollen. Fall weed allergies include ragweed, orache, amaranth, and sagebrush. Spring allergies in the Columbia, Jefferson City, Kansas City, and St. Joseph areas may include hickory, oak, cedar, ash, and willow trees. Summer allergies are usually from brome grass and Bermuda, timothy, bent, and fescue. Fall weed allergies can be attributed to ragweed, mustard, and amaranth.
The Best Ways to Help Allergies
- Medication and Anti-histamines: Antihistamines, such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra, are commonly used to relieve symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Nasal corticosteroids (usually as a nasal spray), such as Flonase and Nasonex, are great for relieving congestion when needed. For many, regularly taking allergy medication during the peak pollen season is essential in helping to manage symptoms. Picking a medication that specifically addresses your unique symptoms can help get you the best results. Often, these medications are available over the counter.
- Immunotherapy: Allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (under the tongue) can help desensitize the body to specific allergens over time.
- Avoidance: Avoiding known allergens is the best way to prevent symptoms. This may include staying indoors on high pollen count days or removing pet dander from your home, as well as changing the times that you do yardwork or engage in outdoor activities (evening is usually better).
- Air filters and purifiers: Using air filters and purifiers can help reduce the amount of allergens in the air, providing relief from symptoms.
- Nasal irrigation: Rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution can help to remove excess mucus and allergens from the nasal passages.
- Natural remedies: Some people turn to natural remedies to alleviate allergy symptoms, such as consuming local honey, taking vitamin C, or using essential oils.
- Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your daily routine, such as taking a shower before bed, removing pollen on your skin and hair, and keeping windows closed during high pollen count days can also help.
- Combination therapy: A combination of different treatment options may be needed to effectively manage allergy symptoms. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.
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The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Lana2011
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