The first frost typically means the end of fall allergy season, but a delayed freeze this year means allergy patients will have to deal with their symptoms for a while longer.

When is the frost?

The first frost in the Charlotte area is usually around Nov. 5. However, current weather projections don’t have the temperature reaching the freezing point before Thanksgiving.

The weather affects fall allergies in two ways, CEENTA Otolaryngologist Gregory S. Parsons, MD, said. First, the delayed frost means everything keeps growing. Second, it hasn’t rained in a while, and since everything’s dry the pollen is getting blown around.

Also, when it gets colder and people turn up their heat, dust mite allergies can kick up, Dr. Parsons said. While dust mites are there all the time, when the heat comes on it can make them much worse. The delayed frost, therefore, means dust mite allergies can overlap with fall allergies.

Is it allergies or am I sick?

Because people may also start getting colds as the temperature drops, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between allergies and illnesses. Allergy symptoms include nasal obstruction, clear nasal drainage, sniffles, and a sneeze, Dr. Parsons said. While it’s sometimes hard to differentiate those symptoms from those of a cold, a cold should last only 7-10 days before improving, while allergy symptoms are constant. Symptoms of a cold also include a fever, a sore throat, and a cough. With a sinus infection, nasal drainage is usually colored.

Once the frost hits or the area gets rain, allergy symptoms will improve, Dr. Parsons said. Until then, allergy patients should keep taking their regular medicine. If those medicines don’t relieve their symptoms they should see a physician. CEENTA offers a number of treatments – including immunotherapy shots, drops, and tablets – to patients with severe allergies.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Parsons provides allergy and ear, nose, and throat care in CEENTA’s Lancaster and Rock Hill, SC offices. To make an appointment with Dr. Parsons, please call 704-295-3000.


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