• Glenn Rothfeld, MD

Your Guide to Allergies

What triggers your allergies all year long?


March marks the beginning of Spring, which is when tree pollen becomes very high. Those with Spring allergies will want to keep an eye on the pollen count. April showers bring May flowers (but mostly trees), which produce loads of pollen! The tree pollination from February and March usually last throughout May. Grass pollen can also surface at this time, creating even worse symptoms for highly allergic people!

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If your Spring allergies haven’t triggered yet this year, it’s likely that they will in June, when the grass pollen is at its peak. On the bright side, grass pollen should start to dwindle by July. You might feel like your Spring allergies are starting to become more manageable, although July is also the start of season for fungus spores and seeds. If you are allergic to molds and spores, you may feel like your allergies are a never ending cycle. As August is usually the hottest and most humid month, the mold spore count can get very high. The best way to avoid these types of allergens is to stay inside with the air-conditioning on, or even better, air-conditioning with a HEPA filter. The second week in August is also the start of ragweed season, which goes into September.

Beach Vacation


Ragweed is one of the most common types of allergies, which occurs during the late Summer and early Fall months. Depending on where you live, allergies driven by ragweed can start as early as August or September, and last throughout November. The pollen will spread even faster in dry and windy weather, so the dryer and windier your autumn is, the worse your late summer/ early fall symptoms will be. The good news is that Fall pollen allergies should start to become more manageable during October as long as it doesn’t stay too warm for too long. However, the cooler winter weather combined with the dying plant matter is just when the molds will be highest. For those with outdoor allergies, November may be just the best month for your allergy symptoms. But don’t get too excited because indoor allergies such as pet dander and molds start to pick up soon after!

Fall Foliage


Winter allergies can be just as bad as the spring and fall if you’re allergic to mold and dust. Mold and dust can cause allergy symptoms during any time of the year depending on where you live. Although there is usually less pollen in the air during winter months, when we close up our homes and put the heat on in our homes, house dusts and molds become very active. Another allergy trigger to be careful of during the holiday season is your Christmas tree! According to, “It’s likely not the tree itself that triggers allergies but the microscopic mold spores that can harbor in its branches. If you can’t resist buying a live tree despite winter allergies, take it home a week before you plan to decorate it and leave it in a garage or an enclosed porch. Then give it a good shake to try to get rid of any spores.” Also, many people are allergic to “terpenes”, the resin in evergreens.

Log Cabin


Ragweed: “Ragweeds are soft-stemmed weeds that grow in much of the United States. They are tough and hardy, able to thrive in many places especially where soil disturbance occurs. Seventeen species, or more, of ragweed grow in North America.”

Mold: “Mold is a fungus that makes spores that float in the air. When people with a mold allergy inhale the spores, they get allergy symptoms. There are many different kinds of mold—some kinds you can see, others you can’t. Molds live everywhere—on logs and on fallen leaves, and in moist places like bathrooms and kitchens. Tiny mold particles and spores are a common component of household dust and may be the true cause of a dust allergy.”

Dust: “People with dust allergies often suffer the most inside their own homes or in other people’s homes. Oddly enough, their symptoms often worsen during or immediately after vacuuming, sweeping and dusting. The process of cleaning can stir up dust particles, making them easier to inhale. Dust mites—sometimes called bed mites—are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity of 75 to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent. They are not usually found in dry climates.”

Pollen: “Pollen is very fine powder that comes from trees, grasses, flowers and weeds. Wind and birds carry this pollen from plant to plant to fertilize them. When people who have a pollen allergy inhale the pollen, they get allergy symptoms. People can be allergic to different types of pollen. For instance, some are allergic to pollen from only beech trees; others are allergic to pollen from only certain kinds of grasses. Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.”

Pollen count: “The pollen count tells us how many grains of plant pollen were in a certain amount of air (often one cubic meter) during a set period of time (usually 24 hours). Pollen is a very fine powder released by trees, weeds and grasses. It is carried to another plant of the same kind, to fertilize the forerunner of new seeds. This is called pollination.”

Mold spore count: “Mold and mildew are fungi. They differ from plants or animals in how they reproduce and grow. The "seeds," called spores, are spread by the wind. Allergic reactions to mold are most common from July to late summer.”


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