grassNow that the weather is getting warmer and the outside world is starting to thaw, allergy sufferers will be feeling the effects of spring allergies. During this time of year the air is full of allergy triggers. We can use many products in our homes such as air filters and allergy proof bedding to help ease the symptoms of our allergies, but once we step outside allergy management becomes much more difficult. But what exactly are the things that make our allergies so much worse in the springtime? There are many types of allergens floating around in the air during this time of year and the symptoms we suffer from are very similar, if not the same, for different allergens. This makes it hard to tell what exactly you are allergic to. Knowing the differences between these allergens could help you narrow down which ones are affecting you the most. Pollen Pollen is a powdery yellow substance that plants use as means to reproduce. It is the most common spring allergy trigger. When an allergy sufferer inhales pollen, their immune system is sent into overdrive, causing symptoms such as nasal congestion, watery eyes and sneezing. Allergy symptoms will generally be worse when the pollen count is higher. It’s a good idea to check the severity of the pollen count in your area before you plan any outdoor activities. Many people only think of flowers as pollen producing plants, but many other plants, such as trees, grasses and weeds produce pollen as well. Trees The pollen from trees are a major cause of spring allergy symptoms. Some common tree types that are often big allergy irritants are Elm, Oak, Box Elder, Willow and Beech. Trees do not need to be flowering to produce pollen. The pollen of non-flowering trees are actually much smaller and harder to see, making it more difficult to pinpoint the exact allergen that is causing symptoms. Grasses & Weeds After grass and weeds thaw out from winter, they begin growing again in the early spring. Like other plants, they too will produce pollen. This pollen, like that of some trees, is also very fine and is oftentimes sometimes invisible to the naked eye. Allergy symptoms that are caused by grass will most likely be worse if grass goes unmowed. Pollen is more likely to be released only when grass grows tall. Mold Molds are a fungi that grow in damp environments such as soil or rotting wood. Mold produces spores that float through the air, causing symptoms for allergy sufferers who breathe them in. Mold can grow year-round but is more common in the warmer months. There are many types of molds but only certain types cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common molds that act as allergy triggers are Aspergillus, Alternaria, Penicillium and Cladosporium. If you don’t know what it is you are allergic to, it is best to get tested by an allergist. The allergen could even be growing in your back yard!