Hay Fever Hits Hardest at the Start of Spring

Hay fever worse during the beginning of spring season

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While there may be snow on the ground, it's never too early to talk about the spring. The beginning of spring means the return of hay fever, itchy eyes and sneezing.

While the warm weather will return before you know it, so too will those pesky hay fever symptoms.

Hay fever is at its worst during the beginning of spring according to a new study led Dr. Letty de Weger, from Leiden University Medical Centre. Researchers measured pollen levels, medication use and daily symptoms during hay fever season in 2007 and 2008.

Medication and pollen levels played no role in why hay fever symptoms were worse during the first half of the season.

"Make sure you are prepared for hay fever season."

Hay fever is the result of pollen allergies. Runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes make up the symptoms of hay fever. With over 10,000 species of grass, many of which can trigger hay fever symptoms, spring can be quite troublesome for many people.

The different types of grass flower in succession of each other. So for three months, each species of grass flowers one after the other, prolonging hay fever. Hay fever can last all season long.

Naturally, hay fever symptoms and medication usage were at their highest when the pollen levels were at their highest. Even when pollen levels were similar, hay fever was worse during the first half of the season than in the second half of the season.

Researchers are unsure why this is the case. Medication use was also ruled out as a possible cause. Researchers speculated that the higher symptoms at the beginning of the season could be because people just get used to the hay fever symptoms during the season.

Another potential reason could be that grass that flowers later in the season are not as allergenic as grass that flowers earlier in the season. One last potential reason could be that the body develops a sort of immunity due to the exposure to pollen at the beginning of the season, similar to how a flu shot works. 

Future research can shed more light on why hay fever is worse at the start of spring. Research can help determine which species of grass are more likely to cause hay fever. For now, itchy eyes are inevitable come spring.

The study was published in the December edition of Clinical and Translational Allergy.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 20, 2011
Last Updated:
December 29, 2011