Category Archives: Coast/Beach

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

Broad Channel Station, IND Rockaway Line of the NYC Subway
Broad Channel Station, IND Rockaway Line of the NYC Subway. Click here for usage rights.
Submitted by Iana in NYC – 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.

Photo courtesy Rayv145, Wikipedia Commons

Allergies and Gulf of Mexico oil spill

What effect does exposure to vapors and other oil spill-related hazards in the Gulf of Mexico have on those with asthma and other respiratory allergies? I’ve collected some of the current responses to these issues, but we want to hear from you. If you live or work in the gulf, or feel your allergies or health have been affected by the oil spill, please share your comments in the ‘Leave a Reply’ area below.

Long-term effects of the BP spill are not yet known, but we do know that, while fumes and irritants are not allergens, they can trigger an allergic rhinitis and asthma reactions. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting health hazard evaluations and surveillance to track symptoms indluding worsening of asthma, cough, chest pain, eye irritation, nausea, and headache.

NIOSH has listed the following potential hazards in its Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill guidance for workers: benzene, chemical dispersants and other chemical hazards, fatigue, fuel oil, heat stress, hurricanes, mosquitoes, poisonous plants, respiratory protection, snakes, stinging insects, stress, and sun exposure.

ABC news reports that over a million gallons of chemical dispersants have been used in the cleanup. Long-term affects of these dispersants on health are not yet known. In addition to the obvious dangers of chemical irritants and pollutants, other allergens discussed below threaten outdoor workers.

Poisonous plants such as poison ivy, oak, and sumac not only cause severe allergic reactions in many by direct contact, but inhaling smoke from burning brush piles containing these plants can cause severe allergic respiratory reactions. Urushiol from these plants can remain active on the surface of tools and other objects for up to 5 years.

Bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants pose an additional threat to workers involved in the cleanup. Their stings can result in severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical care and may cause death.

Allergy to the sun can be a threat for outdoor workers, in addition to the more common threats of sunburn and skin cancers. Mayo Clinic describes four types of sun allergy: polymorphic light eruption, actinic prurigo, chronic actinic dermatitis, and solar urticaria.


Chemical Dispersants (ABC News)
Heat (
Oil spill related health issues (Skin and Allergy News)
Respiratory effects (Fox News)
Health Surveillance Oil Spill (Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Response (NIOSH)
Hazard Information (NIOSH)
Sun Allergy (Mayo Clinic)

Beach-dweller from VA: cough, itchy throat, ears, eyes in TX

I was in the military and originally from VA. I lived by the beach there while being stationed in the military and even after I got out of the military. I had an occassional sinus infection. Since moving to TX my son and I both get swollen eyes, coughing, itchy throats and ears and eyes. Where can we move so that my son and I can go back outside and not have to worry about our eyes swelling or me waking up with a stuffy nose, head pounding and my eyes won’t be black underneath and I can have energy again to play with my other children. – Kristy, TX

Coast or beach, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas

I have not noticed anyone talk about moving to any coastal/ beach areas? For the past 4 years my wife and I vacation to florida and east coast (myrtle beach,south carolina). All allergy symptoms are pretty much gone when we’re there. My nose clears up, I can see better, less mental fog, etc. As soon as we get back to NW Arkansas, all symtoms come back! We are planning on moving to SC coast ASAP. — Rob

[Note from AllergyNurse: Actually, several have mentioned their experiences in coastal/beach areas. But your comment made me realize that I need to add that under ‘Locations’ in the right menu, so people can find it more easily. I’ve added it now, and linked items which refer to these areas. Thanks for pointing out this need!]

Asthma: Rome or Milan Italy, Europe, and Miami, Florida

I don’t care if a doctor says theres no better place to live with asthma because there are better places. If they are not asthmatic they will never know the feeling, the torture, the shallowness of breath we can feel. No one will understand unless they are touched by this lung disease.

But one place that i have been that i will never in my life revisit again was Milan,Italy. It was the worst place my breath was so shallow i thought how anyone could stand living here. The polution in Italy is horrible, even Rome, be prepared before you go to Europe.

My asthma feels alot better in Florida Miami south beach even though its humid it helps. But i belive our bodies are made up in so many different make-ups that we have to all find the place were we will feel the best. — Nicholas, Florida

Illinois and Western U.S.

Illinois (Chicago area): Awful. Lived there as a child, was often miserable.

Northern New Mexico: Moderate symptoms, but a tremendous improvement from Illinois.

Northern Utah: No symptoms whatsoever.

Eastern Washington (Tri-Cities): Bad, too much airborne dust.

Western Washington (Seattle): Light symptoms, dramatic improvement.

Western Oregon (Portland): Awful. Ryegrass season was sheer hell. 80-90% of the world’s ryegrass seed is produced in the Willamette Valley! Brought back long-suppressed bad childhood memories.

Coastal California (Santa Barbara and San Francisco): Very few symptoms.

Best compromise between personal preference in climate and symptoms has been Seattle area; probably anywhere on coast or Puget Sound area would be as good. — DWB, Washington

Nebraska, Alabama, California, Maryland, South Dakota

Grew up just South of Omaha and had horrible allergy problems since the age of 8. Not so bad in the winter. A change of diet that avoided additives, preseratives, corn syrup, and others… helped A LOT.

A move to Hunstville, Alabama when I was 30 didn’t change much for the allergy problems, but definately a little.

A move to coastal San Diego County, California was the best! I had to watch out for mold in an apartment I had that was just a block off of ocean cliffs, but that was nothing to worry about, just keep it clean.

I now live in southern Maryland and have virtually no problems, but there is a little bit a tightness in the chest that only goes away in southern California.
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