SATURDAY, October 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Allergy sufferers know that symptoms don’t just appear in spring or summer. Fall can also bring sneezing and breathing difficulties, as can erratic weather patterns.
“Allergy symptoms often appear in the fall, even if they’re mostly allergic to pollen in the spring and summer,” said Dr. David Corry. He is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Natural events that could affect allergy sufferers this year include the Tonga volcano erupting in January, Corry said. This has thrown particles and aerosols into the environment and could alter global weather and shorten or lengthen upcoming pollen seasons.
Those seasons could continue to change in the northern hemisphere, which has been both hotter and drier this year, Corry said.
“We are currently in peak ragweed season and we are also seeing a lot of mold spores in the air,” Corry said in a college press release. “But those unusually high temperatures earlier this year could potentially result in less cedar pollen this winter.”
Hurricane season is underway and these wet events, along with tropical storms, can bring immense rainfall and destroy vegetation. This can lead to fungal blooms and proliferate airborne fungal spores, significantly worsening allergy and asthma symptoms for weeks or even months.
Cold fronts that bring thunderstorms and wind can kick up ragweed and pollen from earlier seasons. These can travel long distances.
“Thunderstorm asthma” is a phenomenon that can affect asthmatics.
“If you have a mold allergy or you have mold-related asthma, these can get dramatically worse very quickly, and that’s a real health threat,” Corry said. “Stay indoors shortly after a thunderstorm, and if your home has been flooded or has water damage of any kind, repair it immediately to avoid mold growth.”
People living with allergies do best to keep them outside of the home.
Showering after being outdoors can help remove small particles from your hair and skin. You should also wash clothes worn outside.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, Corry suggested a variety of treatments.
Mild to moderate symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter, non-drowsy antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), or fexofenadine (Allegra). These can be used in combination with nasal steroids.
Nasal irrigation uses a saline solution to empty the nasal passages. See your doctor for prescribed inhaled steroids or other types of medication to treat symptoms when over-the-counter solutions aren’t enough.
Allergen immunotherapy, in which patients receive weekly injections of low-dose allergens to which they are sensitive, can help mount an immune response to the allergen, Corry advised.
The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has more on seasonal allergies.
SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, press release, September 27, 2022