Have you ever had a cold that you just can’t seem to get rid of? The runny nose, watery eyes and frequent headaches can be a real pain and when experience in the colder months of the year these symptoms are all too often attributed to a simple case of the common cold. But what if it wasn’t a cold? What if it was actually a form of hay fever and diagnosing it as a cold is topping you from adequate treatment?

A common misconception is that hay fever can only strike in the spring and summer months. Hay fever is actually just the common name for something called Allergic Rhinitis. However, unlike hay fever, allergic rhinitis can be brought on at any time of year. As long as there are allergens you’re sensitive to in the air, you could experience hay fever like symptoms.

Throughout the year the type of allergens will change. To accurately diagnose and treat the problem, you need to be aware of the various allergens and when they’re most prevalent. If you suffer from hay fever-esque symptoms in autumn or winter, you may be having an allergic reaction and not just have the sniffles. Below we’ve listed the various types of allergens and when they’re most likely to cause you a problem. If you have hay fever like symptoms at strange times of the year, have a look to see if there are any of the below allergens in your local environment and figure out if you need cold medicine or an allergy treatment.


Most people are prone to thinking that winter is the safest season for those who suffer from allergies, but the truth is no month is completely allergen free.

As the months get colder we tend to spend more of our time indoors. During the winter months you’ll find that a lot of the allergens that cause a reaction come from your own home. A clean home should help battle the problem, in particular your problems are going to come from dust mites, dust, mould spores and pet dander. Tree pollen can also spike in the later months of winter which can also cause an allergic reaction.


As the warmer months arrive there’s going to be an increase of the tree pollen that began in late winter. We’re not quite into the flower pollen season yet, but as the April showers roll in there will be an increase in outdoor mould and fungus. The spores from these can cause irritation in the nasal passages, making this the official start to the outdoor allergens associated with hay fever.


Summer is the worst month for an allergy sufferer. You’ve got to deal with the full spectrum of allergens. All of the indoor allergens you have to deal with in winter will still be around not to mention the mould, fungus, tree, grass and weed pollen. Most people will suffer during the summer months as there are far more allergens around. If you;’re allergic to more than one they can have a compounding effect making the summer months a very difficult time indeed.


Autumn sees the number of allergens that can affect you diminish. As the flowers close for the year and trees lose their leaves, you’re able to strike the two biggest offenders off your list. You will however still have to deal with weed pollen and outdoor mould and fungus. These tend not to be as prevalent as grass or tree pollen meaning there should be far fewer affected people.

Allergies can flare up at any time of year. Whilst the symptoms for allergic rhinitis are relatively uniform, the causes are anything but. If you’re suffering from allergy type symptoms outside of the hay fever months, don’t automatically assume it’s a cold. You may well be suffering from an allergic reaction, identify the problem through understanding it’s cause to be better prepared in mitigating it’s effects.

Learn about Allergies for a full list of the years worst offending allergen releasing plants.

Images – Brooke Novak, nasacort.com