Your Fall Allergy Symptoms Might Be Worse Than Spring—Here's Why

Get the scoop on autumnal allergy symptoms and best ways to treat them, straight from an expert.

In the spring, just as the flowers come into bloom, so do (unfortunately) your springtime allergies. When late summer and early fall come around, pollen can cause an uptick in your symptoms once again. Dr. Tania Elliott, an allergist-immunologist based in New York City, explains that pollen varies during the different seasons—and this is the standout difference in spring versus fall allergies. "It's the type of pollen," she says. "In the spring, it's tree pollen; in the fall, it's weeds, ragweed, and outdoor mold."

woman sneezing into tissue at desk
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According to Dr. Elliott, in many cases, fall allergy symptoms can be worse than their spring counterpart. "Ragweed pollen is large and very buoyant," she explains, "which means it can travel farther so in some sense fall pollen can be worse than spring pollen!" This ragweed releases pollen throughout August into November, with peak pollen levels at the first half of September. Ahead, we further explain the difference in symptoms and how to treat them.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

While triggers differ depending on the pollen, climate in which you live, and the prior season's weather conditions, the actual symptoms are quite similar. Both spring and fall allergies cause sneezing, itchy and watering eyes, a runny nose, as well as congestion.

Symptom levels can fluctuate throughout the day, as well. Pollen is likely to be higher in the morning hours, gusts of wind spread pollen quicker throughout the day, and humid weather conditions trigger the mold to flourish. All factors lead back to how these weather conditions and elements affect your sinuses.

Differing Treatments

Dr. Elliott shares that as we experience fall allergies, they will end soon after the first frost comes. She recommends a 24-hour antihistamine to her patients who suffer from seasonal allergies.

For those who opt to take a more holistic approach to alleviating their seasonal allergy symptoms, Dr. Elliot has a simple saline solution. "For a non-medicine option," she says, "a twice daily sinus rinse or nasal saline spray can help flush pollen out of your nasal passages and sinuses."

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