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California [CA]

Eczema better in in southeast asia and MD, worse in NYC subway

Broad Channel Subway Station

Broad Channel Station, IND Rockaway Line of the NYC Subway

I grew up in south east asia and had eczema off and on but during college it mostly disappeared. I moved to Maryland after college and my eczema was still non existent. After about 4 years, I moved to NYC and after three months my eczema came back with a vengeance. It resurfaces every fall and winter and subsides a little during summer.

I have had two vacations where I went to the beach (Costa Rica and Thailand) and my eczema disappeared during both times.

I am now thinking of relocating either to CA or Hawaii if I’m lucky!

It seems like the worst place for my allergies has been the NYC subways. I’m not sure if its the mold or some other substance. – Submitted by Iana in NYC

Photo courtesy Rayv145, Wikipedia Commons

Sacramento allergies milder than last year, expected to intensify

Not everyone is experiencing the brutal allergy season many have had this year… yet! On Friday, April 27, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, CA, reported that “this season isn’t nearly as bad as last year.” The report quotes Dr. Bradley Chipps of Capital Allergy and Respiratory Disease Center as saying, “Usually by third or fourth week of April it’s absolutely standing room only in the office, and that’s just not the case this year.”

However, as the title of the item suggests (see below), this report indicates that Sacramento’s slow start has just ramped up. So if you were thinking about heading for Sacramento to find relief, right now may not be the best time!

Last week, just when you were hoping allergy season was about over wherever you live, ABCNews reported that the peak of this allergy season is still around the corner for much of the U.S.

The ABCNews report (linked below) says, “As tree pollen season comes to a close in early May, experts say grass pollen season, which usually begins in late April, is just getting started.”

The Sacramento news echos this with just a slightly later timeline for that area. Capital Radio News reports, “Then there’s another wave when grass pollens bloom, usually peaking in the second or third week of May,” and that, “peak allergy conditions usually persist until around June.” It also warns that, “Central Valley and Los Angeles can also trap pollen and other particulate matter in the air.”

So peep around the corner wherever you live, and brace yourself!

References:

Capital Public Radio: After slow start, allergy season ramps up across state

ABCNews: Are we there yet? Peak of spring allergy season around the corner

Valley Fever in Arizona, California, Texas, Mexico, Central and South America

Geographic_Distribution_of_Coccidioidomycosis_02

Valley Fever distribution-see green areas on map|Wikipedia

Called “The Devil in the Dust” in the April, 2012, issue of St. Joseph’s Magazine, Valley Fever is caused by the coccidioides fungi species that grows in the soil of Arizona and other dry desert areas of the southwestern United States, including central California, southern Utah, Nevada, and Western Texas around El Paso. Valley Fever also occurs in the Pacific costal region of Mexico and Central and South America.

Allergy Climates first brought you an item submitted by one of our readers about Arizona Valley Fever in our June 6, 2007, post. Recently, when a reader commented about Valley Fever here at Allergy Climates, I was reminded that we are long overdue for an update. Progress has been made in research of the disease in the past five years, yet it continues to spread in the affected areas when soil carrying Valley Fever spores, also called arthroconidia, are dispersed into the air by farming, construction, and wind storms, then breathed into the lungs.

Valley Fever spores

Valley Fever (arthroconidia) spores|courtesy Wikipedia

Symptoms may be so slight the infection is only discovered by a later positive skin or blood test, or nodules on the lungs, according to a Mayo Clinic article which reads, “Although the nodules typically don’t cause problems, they can look like tumors on X-ray.” According to this article, symptoms resemble those of the flu, sometimes accompanied by a rash, and can become chronic with low-grade fever, weight loss, cough, chest pain, and, as previously mentined, lung nodules. In its most serious form, the infection disseminates (spreads) to the skin (nodules and ulcers), bones, joints, and brain. Filipinos, Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans, and Asians, along with pregnant women, diabetics, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop the serious forms of the disease according to the Mayo Clinic article.

The April, 2012, issue of St. Joseph’s Magazine reports that “approximately one third of those exposed to the spore will contract valley fever.” According to this report, the disease kills 35-45 people per year in Arizona alone, and can leave people disabled for life. This issue features the new Valley Fever Center on the campus of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The new Center is directed by John Galgiani, M.D., who also founded The Valley Fever Center for Excellence in Tucson in 1996. The April issue also includes pictures of recent Arizona dust storms, as well as current information about Arizona’s Valley Fever.

According to the May 1, 2007, issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the condition which would later be known as Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) was first discovered by a medical student in Buenos Aires in 1892. The patient was an Argentinian soldier who had been experiencing worsening skin lesions for about three years. Soon afterward, an immigrant from the Azores who was working in agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley developed similar symptoms. He was taken to a hospital in San Francisco where he was found to have Valley Fever. According to a Tutorial for Primary Care Professionals prepared by the Valley Fever Center for Excellence in Tucson, by 1935, this infection was common in the San Joaquin Valley, where it got its namem “Valley Fever.” By the 1940’s Valley Fever, also known as Cocci, Desert Rheumatism, and San Joaquin Fever, was well-known in southern Arizona where it remains a serious threat today.

The California Department of Public Health reports that half of the estimated 150,000 Coccidioides infections that occur each year in the United States do not produce symptoms. The CDPH says that there is currently no vaccine, but efforts to develop a vaccine are ongoing. According to The CDPH, “Those exposed to dust during their jobs or outside activities in these areas should consider respiratory protection, such as a mask, during such activities.”

A Phoenix Business Journal report published October 4, 2011, states “Of the 150,000 new Valley fever infections each year, two-thirds affect Arizonans — the majority of them in Maricopa County…. And the numbers are increasing.”

Best and worst places for asthma and allergy in 2011 – hats off, Portland!

Asthma report for 2011

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently published its “Asthma Capitals” report for 2011. Each year AAFA researches, compiles, analyzes, and compares data from its own surveys as well as numerous U.S Government and other qualified agencies, and provides reports for the challenges allergy and asthma sufferers face in areas across the U.S. AAFA weighs a number of factors in their rankings. For more about AAFA and their work and reports, see references below.

Worst places for asthma and allergy

Richmond, VA, tops the AAFA 2011 list as the most challenging place to live with asthma, followed by Knoxville, TN, in second place, and Memphis, TN, in third. With four Tennessee cities in the top ten list, it seems perhaps Tennessee wins the trophy for most challenging State Asthma Capital in 2011. However, this latter conclusion is merely speculation on my part, and not part of the AAFA report.

For fall allergies, Dayton, OH, took first place (for worst) in AAFA’s “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, followed by Wichita, KS, in second, and Louisville, KY placing third.

Best places for asthma and allergy

I’m often asked about best places for asthma and allergy sufferers. The AAFA compares the 100 largest U.S. cities for their report, with the areas at the bottom of the list being “better than average” areas for those with asthma. This puts the 100th ranked Portland, OR, area in first place for better areas for those with asthma, 99th ranked San Francisco, CA, area in second, and 98th ranked Colorado Springs, CO, area in third for 2011.

In the AAFA “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, Portland, OR, also took the 100th spot, followed by Seattle, WA, in 99th, and San Diego, CA, in 98th. Hats off to Portland!

It’s important to remember that many factors go into determining which area is best for you. Your allergies may be completely different from those of others who report problems or relief in a specific area. Keep in mind also that moving away from one area’s allergens can lead to development of new allergies to prevalent allergens where you move.

Investigate info from AAFA’s “Asthma Capitals,” as well as their fall and spring “Allergy Capitals” reports, including prevalence, risk, and medical factors for cities nearest areas which you are considering for possible relocation. Search others’ experiences here at “Allergy Climates and Seasons,” repeat visits to areas you are interested in during each season of the year, and stay as long as possible with each visit to areas where you might potentially want to live. Before you make the move, talk with people in the area about common allergies, and ask if there other environmental or health-related concerns in that area which you may not have considered.

References

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
  2. Asthma Capitals.
  3. Allergy Capitals.
  4. We appreciate the extensive research, data gathering, and compilation provided by AAFA. Their efforts to promote quality air enriches life for all of us. We have referenced their reports several times through the years in an effort to provide current information for allergy sufferers.

Is Kaneohe, HI better than Fresno, CA for asthma?

My sister lives in Fresno, CA and has asthma. She is in the hospital now with another attack. She has the option of moving to Kaneohe, HI and I want to know if this area is better suited for people who suffer from asthma. – Charlotte, CA

Lake Tahoe and allergies, pine pollen, weeds

How does the environment of Lake Tahoe affect allergies? A reader commented on another of our posts that he heard Lake Tahoe is “a great place to live if you have allergies.” I decided to do some research.

According to www.weather.com, weed pollen in the Lake Tahoe area has been at moderate level since September 1, 2010, and is expected to rise.

On June 29, 2010, Tahoe Daily Tribune published a report entitled “Pine Pollen Season at Lake Tahoe.” According to this report, “Every spring our area is covered with this magic dust…”

Sounds like there are some allergens there, but how bad are they compared to the rest of the country? Please let us know your experience with allergies or asthma at Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe is bordered by El Dorado County, California; Placer County, California; Douglas County, Nevada; Washoe County, Nevada; and Carson City, Nevada.

Share your allergy experience at Lake Tahoe in the “Leave a Reply” area (below).

Sinus headaches in DC, improved in San Francisco and San Jose

I live in the DC area and suffer from allergies and sinus headaches. I wake up every morning with my face and head in pain…and ofcourse exhaustion from constantly being in pain. I recently visted California (San Fran and San Jose) for a week and my sinus pain disappeared the day I arrived. It was amazing! I couldn’t remember the last time I went for seven day straight without sinus pain. Yesterday I landed back in DC and woke up with severe sinus pain. — Sinus Sufferer, Washington DC

Allergies and asthma in California, Chicago, South America, Florida

I moved when I was 3 from Los Angeles to Chicago and got ashtma. I moved to South America and it went away. I moved then to Chicago and was fine. I then moved to West Palm Beach Florida. My days and nights are miserable cant breath cant drink or eat anything. As soon as i go to Chicago 3 days later everything is gone. But I dont like Chicago anymore. I’m considering going to California to see what happens? — John, Florida

Allergies in Eugene Oregon, is SE California or Arizona better?

Which is good to keep me health ? I am live Eugene, Oregon and I have been sick everyday cause of allergy. I am take allergy shot both my arms same day every 3 week’s. But not help cause I am worse more allergy and hurt my headache & my face.

I am allergy cause of maple trees and grass, smoke, dust, mites and any other unknow. I want to know which state’s is good to keep me health stay away allergy. I am looking for moving to other state from Oregon. What about South – East California or Arizona or which is good to me moving ? — Patsy, Oregon

Travelled 50 states, allergic in Oklahoma – move to MO?

Over the past 51 years I have traveled through all 50 states and lived in 16 of them. Most of my years have been in the Hawaiian Islands, Florida, California and now Oklahoma. I have NEVER been alergic to anything in my life, with the exception of Oklahoma, since my husband and I moved here 2 years ago. I AM MISERABLE! The doctor has me on 7 different meds and told me, “Move to Missouri!” After reading updates on the message board about MO, I’m sceptical… — Tamara, Oklahoma