Thanks to the pleasant Mediterranean climate of southern California, heavy jackets and snow pants do not dominate closet space. Instead, light sweaters and jeans keep residents and visitors comfortable year-round. Our mild winters and warm, dry summers also mean we do not get a winter reprieve from seasonal allergies. Something is always blooming here! The best months for allergy sufferers to breathe deeply are November through January, but even then, we sometimes see elevated pollen counts.
The New Year brings the start of elevated tree pollen levels, the intensity of which depends on rainfall amounts during the winter “rainy season” (still dry compared to most areas of the country). If we have seen a relatively wet winter, more trees, grasses, and weeds will produce and disperse pollen during the year ahead. The trees that cause the most problems January through May are ash, eucalyptus, mulberry, olive, oak, sycamore, and walnut.
Late spring/early summer welcomes grass pollen to the forefront of the allergy forecast. The grasses that cause the most issues include bermuda, blue, oat, rye grasses. Frequent lawn mowing churns everything up and throws the pollen into the air.
Fall finds the kids going back to school and the start of weed pollen season. Weeds that produce and spread problematic pollen include California sagebush, pigweed, elm, and Russian thistle.
Warm, dry, and windy conditions help spread any pollen released into the air throughout the year. Our periodic Santa Ana winds can blow warm, sometimes hot, air from the desert anytime between September and May. The winds blow hard for days at a time, exacerbating allergy issues by stirring up and carrying pollen, and dust hundreds of miles.
Living in southern California does not doom you to suffer from hay fever (allergic rhinitis) forever! If you experience persistent allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and congestion around the same time(s) each year for weeks or even months, you may be one of the many Californians battling seasonal allergies. Southern California Allergy will expertly guide you through the process of identifying your allergy triggers. Based on your allergens and symptoms, an individualized treatment plan will address your needs. Allergy medication can work wonders in some patients. Others choose oral immunotherapy, which builds up your body’s immunity to allergens over time. Come in to see us before your symptoms start for the season so we can help you win the allergy battle!