At the beginning of summer, many feel relief as the local grass pollen counts start to drop. However, the heat and humidity of summer, along with pollen and mold, can cause trouble for those with allergies and asthma. Summer thunderstorms and rains can increase the mold spore growth in outside areas that can lead to sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and other allergy symptoms.
Summer is also a time in which many families are traveling on vacation, check out our tips on Vacationing with Allergies and Asthma.
During the summer months here is how to be prepared for allergy triggers:
1. Watch out for stinging insects!
As you spend more time outdoors, you’ll be spending more time around insects, including ones that can bite and sting. Allergies to stinging insects can cause a systemic allergic reaction or possibly even anaphylaxis. These reactions can vary from person to person and even from one sting to the next.
We recommend covering up when gardening and working out in the yard. Perfumes and bright clothing are also known to attract these insects. Be aware of your surroundings and always keep an epinephrine auto-injector with you if you are at risk.
2. Changes in weather can increase allergy symptoms.
As the temperatures rise, you can expect the humidity to increase as well. Many who have asthma can find their condition aggravated by the high temperatures and humid climate. When planning your time outside during the summer, check the air quality for low humidity and low ozone days. You can also avoid triggers by planning around the heat of the day when possible.
Wind can also stir up pollen and mold. While pollen counts are typically low in the summer, we do see some grass pollen at the beginning of the summer, and weed pollen starts showing up in later July. Weed pollen, such as ragweed, is a common seasonal allergy culprit in the fall months.
3. Campfire smoke and fireworks can bother those with asthma.
Roasting hotdogs and marshmallows are a typical past time in the summer, but the smoke from the fire can be an irritant to those with asthma. Don’t sit out from the fun but try to sit upwind of the smoke to reduce exposure.
4. Bring your own food to cookouts.
It might seem redundant to mention, but as you are spending more time with friends and family this summer, make sure these events are food allergy friendly for your family. It is a great time to advocate and educate about food allergies and to remind those with food allergies to be vigilant when eating and sharing food. Cross-contamination may also be a concern. Bring an allergy-friendly dish and approved condiments to use during the meal.
Summer is a time to enjoy yourself, and our allergists believe allergies and asthma don’t have to limit patients during any time of the year. If you are suffering from allergies or asthma, talk to your physician or call our offices to schedule an appointment with an allergist today.