LivingAttention, allergies! May (worst month for allergy sufferers)

Attention, allergies! May (worst month for allergy sufferers)

Pollen allergy is one of the most common types of allergies and sufferers may only have symptoms during certain months of the year . The time of year depends on when the allergen appears: if you experience symptoms only in spring, it is most likely a seasonal allergy to pollen. In this case, the symptoms appear when the allergen, the pollen, is released in high concentrations into the air due to the plants’ flowering cycles .

The flowering cycle of plants

Spring is characterized by the appearance of flowers in many plant species. Although this is true, not all plants begin this cycle in the first weeks of spring, and they can appear in the following months. Pollen is one of the compounds that is released during the cycle, even if the flowers are not very visible.

The change in temperature is one of the factors that determine the beginning of flowering, but always as a guide, since there are also internal factors. If the internal and external factors are optimal, the plant begins to produce its flowers . In this month of May, we bring you a “prediction” of the types of pollen that can dominate appearing in the environment.

What trees give allergies in May?

Although each plant species has an estimated flowering window for a specific time of year, there is a margin of error depending on weather conditions. However, pollen calendars are helpful for people with seasonal allergies. In this month of May, we can still find pollens that dominated the month of April, such as oak ( Quercus ), pine ( Pinus ), mulberry ( Morus ), plantain ( Plantago ) , grasses ( Gramineae ) , poplar or poplar ( Populus ) and urticaceae ( Urticaceae ).

As a novelty, we will be able to find in the first weeks pollen from olive trees ( Olea ), sorrel ( Rumex ), mugwort ( Artemisia ) and mercurial ( Mercurialis ) throughout the peninsula . However, some of them may have been brought forward or delayed based on rainfall and temperature.

Another very important factor is geographical location, since some plant species are found in some regions and not in others . For this reason, chestnut ( Castanea ) pollen will also appear in the central area of the peninsula , and palm tree ( Palmaceae ) pollen will also appear in the Canary Islands .

During the month of May, the rains tend to decrease in frequency in many areas of the peninsula, a factor that could help reduce the level of pollen in the environment, because by hydrating the pollen grains, it causes them to fall more quickly to the ground when be heavier . Thus, in the absence of rain, the symptoms may last longer.

People who suffer from allergies to pollen from any of these species should take special care when going outside or practicing outdoor activities. The amount of pollen in the air can suddenly increase and cause severe symptoms. However, the symptoms do not have to last the whole month since the presence of pollen in the air is transitory and may be almost unnoticeable after a couple of weeks.

How to prevent allergies in spring?

If you are allergic to any of these pollens, there are several steps you can take before symptoms appear. The first thing is to check if you still have the treatment you usually use to control or prevent symptoms. In case you have left, it is also important to make sure that it is still active and has not passed the expiration date .

Since the most common symptoms for this type of allergy are rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma , the most commonly used medications are oral antihistamines, nasal decongestants, eye drops, and inhalers. Especially for inhalers, checking the expiration date is vital. If you have a severe asthma attack, the rapid effect of a bronchodilator can be greatly affected if it is expired.

If you need to renew any medication, your GP or the same pharmacy will be able to recommend the one indicated for the symptoms you suffer. If this is done a few days in advance, you ensure that you are prepared for when the symptoms appear .

In very serious cases, in addition to having the medicine on hand, it is advisable to limit outdoor activities despite how desirable it may be after the winter months. As an additional measure, the use of masks also reduces the amount of pollen inhaled , both normal and FFP2.

In summary, prevention can help the symptoms not affect the routine during this month of May . And remember that, if in doubt, allergy specialists can perform diagnostic tests to give you all the information you need to manage the disease in the best possible way.


Bergmann et al. 2021. Face masks suitable for preventing COVID-19 and pollen allergy. A study in the exposure chamber. Allergo J Int. doi: 10.1007/s40629-021-00180-8.

European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). 2022. Association of doctors, researchers and health professionals.

Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC). 2022.

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