Tennessee Allergy Season: Peak, Timing, and Symptoms

Written by Andrew Wood
Updated: April 21, 2023
© iStock.com/Alisha Bube
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Allergy season in Tennessee can be a difficult time for many residents. The state is home to a variety of allergens, including pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Mold and dust mites are also common allergens. In this article, we discuss the peak, timing, and symptoms of Tennessee allergy season. We also offer tips for managing your symptoms and preventing exposure. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, understanding Tennessee allergy season can help you better prepare and protect yourself. We’ll also discuss how you can prevent and treat your pet’s allergies safely and effectively.

A husky-like dog jogging on a natural dirt/grass trail. A man dressed in white knee socks, black shorts, and a grey long sleeved shirt is frame right holding a retractable leash with a blue casing/handle. A child dressed in a multi-colored plaid dress and a light blue sleeveless tank top with black design is running behind them Golden grasses and trees with green leaves complete the scene.
Tennessee allergy season doesn’t have to prevent you and your pets from enjoying the outdoors if you manage the symptoms.


Allergies: An Overview

Allergies are a reaction of the immune system to a substance that is typically harmless to most people. These substances, known as allergens, can include things like pollen, pet dander, and certain foods. When a person with an allergy comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system reacts. Their immune system mistakes it for a harmful substance and releases chemicals, such as histamine, to fight it off. This can cause a range of symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, and rashes. It can also cause more severe reactions like difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. These symptoms can be treated with medications like antihistamines, but avoiding the allergen is the best way to prevent a reaction.

Sinusitis, ear infections, eczema, rashes, or hives are just a few of the complications that can develop from untreated allergies. Allergies can be especially dangerous for people with asthma, making attacks more frequent and severe. The worst that can happen for people who are very sensitive to allergens is an anaphylactic reaction. This condition needs immediate medical treatment, as it restricts breathing and causes blood pressure to fall dangerously.

Woman with allergy symptoms
Allergy season in Tennessee creates symptoms that are not only annoying, but can be life-threatening for some people.


Peak Allergy Season in Tennessee

The Tennessee allergy season can vary depending on the specific allergen and the location within the state. However, in general, the allergy season in Tennessee can be broken down as follows:

  • Tree pollen: typically peaks in April and May
  • Grass pollen: typically peaks in May and June
  • Weed pollen (ragweed): typically peaks in August and September
  • Mold: can be present year-round, but is more prevalent during warm and humid weather

It’s important to note that weather patterns can also play a role in determining when allergy season begins and ends. For example, an early spring or a particularly warm fall can lead to an earlier start or longer duration of allergy season. Additionally, some people may experience symptoms outside of the typical allergy season due to prolonged exposure to allergens or sensitivity to certain plants.

Allergy season in Tennessee can produce symptoms like red, itchy, watery eyes.


Allergy-Provoking Plants in Tennessee

During Tennessee allergy season, some common plants that can aggravate allergies include:

  • Trees: oak, hickory, cedar, and pine
  • Grasses: timothy, orchard, and Bermuda
  • Weeds: ragweed, nettle, and pigweed
  • Mold: found in damp areas such as basements, bathrooms, and outdoors during warm and humid weather

Different people may have different sensitivities, and not everyone will be allergic to the same plants. Additionally, the specific plants that cause allergies can vary depending on the location within the state. If you suspect you have an allergy, consult with an allergist. This can help you find out exactly what you’re allergic to and the best way to mitigate your symptoms.

Allergy sufferer
Taking medications proactively during allergy season in Tennessee can help you manage your allergies


Using Pollen Count to Manage Allergies

In the United States, trees pollinate most actively in the spring months (March-May). In the warmer parts of the south, trees may pollinate as early as January. They can have multiple high-pollen peaks during the year.

Pollen count refers to the number of pollen grains present in a specific amount of air. It is typically measured in grains per cubic meter of air (grains/m3). The count can help people with allergies understand how severe their symptoms may be on a given day. Pollen counts are usually measured by special air samplers and are usually reported on a daily basis. They are especially considered during the allergy season. High pollen counts are generally considered to be above 120 grains/m3.

You can find pollen count information from different sources such as local news, meteorological offices, and online pollen forecast websites. This information can help people with allergies. They can plan their activities and reduce their exposure on days when the pollen count is high. It’s important to note that pollen counts are not always accurate. They can vary depending on the location, method of measurement, and weather conditions. Additionally, factors such as wind, rain, and temperature can influence pollen counts. These factors can cause the pollen level to fluctuate day by day.

Allergy Season
If you have allergies, on heavy pollen days like this one you probably want to stay indoors!

©Chad Robertson Media/Shutterstock.com

How is Allergy Testing Done?

  1. Skin tests:
  • The most common type of allergy test is the skin prick test. During this test, a small amount of the allergen is placed on the skin and then the skin is gently pricked. If a raised, red, itchy bump (wheal) appears at the test site, it is considered a positive reaction, indicating an allergy to that substance.
  • Another type of skin test is the intradermal test, which is similar to the skin prick test but involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin.
  • Skin tests are generally considered to be safe, quick and accurate, but can be less reliable for some people, for example people with eczema.
  1. Blood tests:
  • Another way to test for allergies is through a blood test, such as the RAST (Radioallergosorbent Test) or ImmunoCAP test. These tests measure the level of specific antibodies in the blood that are produced in response to an allergen.
  • Blood tests are generally considered to be less accurate than skin tests, but they can be used to confirm or supplement the results of a skin test. They are also useful for people who can’t have skin tests, such as those taking certain medications or with a history of severe reactions to skin tests.

A positive test result doesn’t always mean that you’ll have symptoms. The test only identifies whether you have developed antibodies to an allergen, but it does not predict the severity of symptoms you may have. In addition, a negative test result does not necessarily rule out an allergy. An allergist will interpret the results of the tests and provide a diagnosis, recommendations for treatment and advice on how to manage your symptoms.

Allergy Test
In a skin test, an allergist puts concentrated allergens on your skin to see which one you react to.


Ways You Can Prevent or Reduce Allergy Symptoms

There are several ways to prevent or reduce symptoms during allergy season in Tennessee, including:

  1. Avoiding triggers: Identifying and avoiding the specific allergens that trigger your symptoms is the most effective way to prevent allergies. This can be challenging, as allergens such as pollen and mold can be difficult to avoid entirely.
  1. Medications: Antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays can alleviate symptoms. These medications can be taken before exposure to allergens or when symptoms first appear.
  1. Immunotherapy: Allergy shots (immunotherapy) can desensitize you to specific allergens over time, reducing your symptoms and the need for medication.
  1. Nasal irrigation: Rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution can help remove allergens and reduce inflammation.
  1. Lifestyle changes: Keeping windows closed during allergy season and using air conditioning can help reduce exposure to allergens. Showering and changing clothes after spending time outdoors can help remove allergens from the skin and hair. Washing bedding regularly in hot water can help reduce exposure to dust mites.

It’s important to consult your healthcare provider before taking any medications, including over-the-counter medications, to ensure they’re safe for you to take and that they will not interact with any other medications you are currently taking. It is also worth noting that some of the above methods may not be effective for all people, and that a combination of methods may be necessary to effectively manage symptoms.

dust mite
One prevention technique for dust mite allergies is to wash your bedding frequently in hot water.


Best OTC Allergy Treatments

Some of the best brand-name over-the-counter allergy treatments are available as inexpensive generics. We’ve provided convenient links of four examples below so that you can compare the active ingredient of your favorite brands with generics.

Amazon Basic Care Loratadine Antihistamine
  • Long-lasting relief from allergy symptoms
  • Non-drowsy formula
  • Active ingredient is the antihistamine Loratadine (10 mg)
  • 24-hour allergy relief
Check Amazon
ValuMeds 24-Hour Allergy Medicine
  • 24-hour allergy relief
  • Works for pollen, hay fever, dry eyes, itchy eyes
  • Main ingredient is Cetirizine HCl
Check Amazon
ValuMeds Antihistamine, Diphenhydramine HCl 25 mg
  • 600 tablets
  • Active ingredient: Diphenhydramine HCl 25 mg
  • Suitable for Children and Adults
  • Relieves Itchy Eyes, Runny Nose, Sneezing

Check Amazon
HealthCareAisle Allergy Relief - Fexofenadine Hydrochloride
  • Active ingredient: Fexofenadine Hydrochloride
  • 90 tablets of 180 mg
  • Non-Drowsy
  • 24-Hour Allergy Relief

Check Amazon

NOTE: always follow dosage instructions on any OTC medicines, be aware of possible side effects or medical interactions, and consult your doctor if you are uncertain how to treat your allergy symptoms safely and effectively. Use medications only for intended purposes.

How Could Tennessee Allergy Season Affect Your Pet?

Pets can be allergic to some of the same things as people can. Symptoms of allergies in pets can vary depending on the type of allergy and the pet, but common signs include itching, scratching, biting or licking of the skin, hair loss, red or irritated skin, and respiratory issues. Here are some common allergies your pet may have:

  • Food allergies: Pets can be allergic to some types of protein or food additives.
  • Environmental allergies: Pollens, molds, dust mites, and fleas can create an allergic reaction in your pet.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis: Flea bites can create an itchy, irritating allergic reaction that your pet’s scratching may aggravate.

A veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat the allergy and provide you with appropriate recommendations. In some cases, pets may require a combination of treatments such as allergen-specific immunotherapy, medications, and changes to their diet or environment.

Cat licking its paws
One way you can tell your pet might have allergies is if they won’t stop licking themselves, even to the point of creating bare patches in their fur.

©Fayzulin Serg/Shutterstock.com

Is Human Allergy Medicine Safe For Pets?

Pets can take some of the same medications for allergies you do, but it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before medicating your pet. Some human medications are toxic to pets, and some that may work for dogs may be toxic to cats. Your vet can adjust the dosage and frequency of administration according to the pet’s weight, breed, and health condition. Your vet will help you medicate your animal safely, so you can both better enjoy allergy season in Tennessee.

spay a dog at petsmart
Pets can take some human medications, but not without consulting with your veterinarian on dosage first.


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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer, world traveler, and lifelong animal lover. Currently, I'm an "Emotional Support Human" to 4 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 guinea pigs. My favorite wild animal is the quokka, the most selfie-friendly animal in the world!

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