Share your location for a better experience

Please enter your city or town so we can help you find the right care at the right place.

Click the X to continue without setting your location

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

    Wellness and preventative medicine

    Will this allergy season be extra bad due to the dry winter?

    You're not imagining it – allergy season is worse this year.

    Tips for allergy season

    If you’ve thought your allergies are worse this year, you’re not imagining it. Symptoms like runny nose, dry eyes, and itchy skin are affecting American adults more than ever this season – and you might be surprised by the reason: a dry winter.

    With the help of Janice Fordham, MD, Intermountain Health primary care physician at Laurel Clinic - Family Medicine in Montana, we dove into the science of allergen impacts and how to minimize exposure.

    Why allergies worsen with dry winters

    In the US, one in four children and one of three adults suffer from allergies. This is most noticeable in spring, a season known for its moisture. So how does a dry winter impact pollen? The answer boils down to climate change.

    According to the CDC, climate change shifts precipitation patterns, adds frost-free days, warmer temperatures, and more carbon dioxide. This lack of moisture can lead to an increase in pollen and other allergens lingering in the air. And when spring rolls around, all that built-up pollen is ready to wreak havoc on our allergies.

    The increased carbon dioxide levels from climate change can also make plants produce more allergenic pollen. This all impacts the duration and intensity of pollen season.

    “While low moisture levels and sparse snowfall in winter may seem like a reprieve from seasonal allergies, they can actually exacerbate allergy symptoms and contribute to a challenging spring allergy season,” said Dr. Fordham.

    How to deal with allergies

    Now that we know why allergy season is extra bad after a dry winter, what can we do to cope? Here are some tips to help you survive allergy season:

    Track pollen counts

    • Stay informed about pollen counts in your area. On high pollen days, try to stay indoors as much as possible, especially during peak pollen hours in the morning and early evening.

    Use air filters

    • Consider using HEPA filters in your home to trap pollen and other allergens. This can help improve indoor air quality and reduce your exposure to allergens.

    Keep windows closed

    • While it might be tempting to let in some fresh air, keeping windows closed during allergy season can help prevent pollen from drifting into your home.

    Take allergy medicine

    • Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications can provide symptom relief. Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops are all options to consider, but talk with your healthcare provider before starting new medications.

    Try allergy shots

    • For severe allergies that don't respond well to other treatments, allergy shots (also known as immunotherapy) may be an option. These shots work by gradually desensitizing your immune system to specific allergens.

    Stay hydrated

    • Drinking plenty of water can help thin mucus and soothe irritated nasal passages, making allergy symptoms more bearable.

    See a specialist

    • Don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider, like Dr. Fordham, if your allergies are causing significant discomfort. They can help you, or refer you to specialists, to tackle even the worst symptoms.

    Connect Care For Allergies

    Connect Care is a great place to get an evaluation for symptoms of seasonal allergies. Providers can discuss your symptoms and offer over-the-counter and prescription treatment options as needed. Note: If you are having a sudden allergic reaction due to a medication, food, or bug bite/sting, Connect Care is not the best place to be seen. Please go to the nearest emergency room for evaluation and treatment.

    “Understanding the impact of these environmental factors and taking proactive steps to minimize allergen exposure, staying hydrated and seeking appropriate treatment, is crucial for individuals navigating the seasonal transition so they can enjoy a healthier and more comfortable spring,” said Dr. Fordham.

    Allergy season can be tough, especially after a dry winter. But by understanding why allergies worsen during this time and taking steps to manage your symptoms, you can still enjoy spring beauty without the constant sneezing. 

    Seasonal Allergies

    Allergic reactions vary from one individual to another, and treating them can be complex. We’ll work closely with you to test and properly diagnose your allergens and develop a treatment plan that suits your needs.

    Schedule an appointment