Category Archives: Summer

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

Online allergy map of U.S. by location for travelers

As an allergy nurse, I used an allergy map to show patients which seasonal allergens are prevalent in various regions in the U.S. I found similar map online that I thought you’d enjoy.

The site has good seasonal climate information which concludes with a smart reminder that “if you spend your summers in the north and travel south for the winter, you may experience symptoms throughout the year if you’re allergic to the allergens found in each place.”

View this climate map at Allergies by Geographical Location. We do not have any relationship, affiliation, or advertising arrangement with Clarinex.

Allergies in August – blend of summer and fall

August brings with it the beginning of fall allergy season. Summer grass and tree pollen blend with the start of Ragweed season around mid August, providing a double dose of allergy symptoms for many.

Melon season is in it’s prime as August approaches. Eating cantaloupe and watermelon can trigger reactions in those allergic to Ragweed. Other foods that have been reported to be cross-reactive with Ragweed include honeydew, chamomile, honey, banana, sunflower seeds, zucchini squash, and cucumber. Add to these potato, melon, tomato, watermelon, orange, cherry, peanut, and kiwi, all of which are cross-reactive with lingering summer grasses, and you have a recipe for August Allergy Mix.

Mold counts rise with humidity of summer as well as the rotting foliage of fall. Seasonal changes usually bring showers, and mold spores propagate readily in the moist atmosphere.

Various trees pollinate at different times year round. In southern states, the Fall Elm, or Cedar Elm, begins dusting the air with pollen in August. This tree is also dubbed Texas Elm because it is so dominant in Texas during the fall allergy season. I am vacationing in Ft. Worth, TX, today, and a local group, Allergy Testing and Treatment Center, reports the following pollen counts:

Fungus [Mold] high at 2046 grains per cubic meter
Ragweed moderate at 46 grains per cubic meter
Elm high at 232 grains per cubic meter

Ragweed is common almost world-wide, but many in other parts of the world are experiencing different allergens in August than those we discussed here. Feel free to share the predominant August allergens in your area in the comments.

The season of fireworks: How does July 4 celebration affect your allergies?

Across the United States, people remember Independence Day on July 4. Fireworks displays begin to dot our land as soon as darkness lends its backdrop. How does the smoke from these displays affect people with allergies?

According to WebMD, “When a person with asthma or COPD inhales smoke and fumes from any of these products of combustion, their airways will become more inflamed for at least 24 hours after the exposure is over.”

The source of smoke responsible for the allergic response is not limited to July 4 or New Years celebrations. It can be any type of smoke, such as automobile exhaust, a brush fire, or cigarette smokers in your home. Smoke is not an allergen, though. Smoke is an irritant, but the irritation it causes can trigger an allergic response in people with asthma. Smoke can also trigger eye and nasal allergic reactions.

Smoke is not the only culprit. Often these fireworks extravaganzas include a trek through a grassy area, or even watching the entire show from a lawn chair on a grassy hillside. Those with allergy to grass will do best to celebrate away from grassy areas. Stinging insects may inhabit grassy areas as well, and people allergic to their venom should be wary. Mosquito saliva causes severe localized allergic responses and a reaction called “Skeeter’s syndrome” in some people. Mosquitoes also carry infection.

Those with food allergies should be especially careful, since it may not be apparent what foods are in the dish that smells so tempting. Remember, smoke from the grill or hidden spices in the barbecue can trigger allergies too!

Does climate make a difference in the summer fireworks season for you? For example, is the allergic response to smoke less severe in windy or calm climates? Or does it just depend on which way the wind is blowing? Are stinging insects and mosquitoes more prevalent in humid climates? What triggers are you more likely to find in areas where the air is dry? What else factors into the equation of allergy and fireworks for you, as it relates to climate and season?

Share your experiences and responses in the comments.

References

Smoke gets in my eyes and lungs, WebMD
Smoking and Asthma, WebMD

Before you move…

A special climate message from ‘Your Allergy Nurse’

Don’t forget to consider health issues other than allergies when evaluating a climate change. Here in Arkansas many of us dread the hot humid days of summer. The air is heavy and it is hard to breathe. Mold counts soar, grass pollen thrives, and it becomes an allergy sufferer’s nightmare. During the winter we have short periods of dry humidity, but snow and ice keep things moist for the most part.

However, this is proving to be an extremely dry winter for us. Wild fires and burn bans prevail in our region. We frequently hear the words “record-breaking lows” to describe the humidity and rainfall levels. I’m getting a taste of what winter feels like in a more arid climate.

Continue reading Before you move…

San Bernardino Valley, Callifornia

I have never experienced allergies (beyond that of petting a cat) in any place I have ever lived–and I have travelled to 40 countries and lived in seven. However, I visited southern California for the first time, to see my father, who is in the San Bernardino Valley. Each time I visit (in the summer), severe allergies hit me and I am almost immobile for days. Claritin D helps for a while, but I have to take it every day. Any advice? — ZB