Seth Craig, MD
This spring, the nation’s 35 million people with allergies can blame global warming for some of their suffering. Weather conditions have a significant effect on levels of pollen and mold in the air, which in turn affects the severity of allergy symptoms. Typically the common seasonal allergens that trigger nasal allergies and asthma flourish when the weather is warm. Warmer winters may extend the pollen season by causing trees to release their pollen earlier than usual.
The following climatic factors can influence how bad the allergy symptoms might be:
- Molds flourish in warm humid weather.
- A rainy spring, especially with heavy rain, may reduce tree pollen but may increase growth of grasses, creating more grass pollen.
- Dry air causes pollen sacs on plants to open and release pollen.
- Windy days disperse more pollen into the air; pollen may travel many miles.
- Pollen levels tend to increase in early morning shortly after sunrise.
- Dry weather and cold weather may worsen dry skin conditions such as atopic eczema.
- Cold dry air or hot humid air may worsen asthma symptoms.
- Smog and other air pollutants cause inflammation in the lungs and nasal passageways and thereby worsen the effects of allergens in the air.
- Moving to a different climate is usually not successful because airborne allergens are virtually everywhere.
Allergy Season Survival Tips:
Know your triggers; visit an allergist to find out. More than two thirds of spring allergy sufferers have year-round triggers.
Work with your allergist to devise strategies to avoid your triggers such as:
- Monitor pollen and mold counts.
- Keep windows closed at home and in the car during allergy season.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are the highest.
- Shower and wash hair and change clothing after working or playing outdoors.
- Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH rated 95 mask) when outdoors.
An allergist can work with you to discuss treatment options. Certain medications can provide temporary relief. The most effective treatment for environmental allergies is allergy injection treatment. This is an individualized vaccine which helps the body build a tolerance to the environmental allergens so patients can avoid severe nasal, ocular, chest or skin symptoms each year.
For more information visit our website: www.AllergyAsthmaDoctors.com .
Dr. Seth Craig is an experienced allergy specialist with Allergy & Asthma Center of Fredericksburg, Ltd