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December 15, 2016 | Allergy and Immunology • Family Medicine
People with asthma and chronic allergies deal with their conditions on a regular basis, but things are often at their worst when seasons change. New weather patterns can impact the ways our breathing and airwaves work, and symptoms for people with these conditions can become much more severe at these times of year.
What are some of the main triggers of increased allergy and asthma symptoms? They can come at various times of year, and can affect different people in different ways. Let’s take a look at a few.
Asthma is a condition where swelling restricts your airways, and your body produces too much mucus. Breathing can be difficult because of this mucus, and it usually leads to coughing and wheezing. There is no cure, only symptom management.
Changing seasons can make asthma worse than usual, especially when going from warmer months to colder parts of the year. Cold weather has shown to be a common trigger for severe asthma symptoms. This is particularly true in people who suffer from asthma caused primarily by exercising – the cold air entering the body when you breathe heavily cools your airways, causing them to swell and flare up.
However, the coldest parts of the year aren’t the only risk for asthma patients. Thunderstorms can trigger severe symptoms for people whose asthma is caused primarily by pollen, mainly because high winds can carry the pollen quickly to many places it wouldn’t have been normally. Asthma attack rates are always higher during thunderstorms, and can be much more severe than normal.
An allergy is a broad category describing any time your immune system reacts differently than a normal person’s immune system would react when exposed to something. Symptoms can range from undetectable to extreme and constant, depending on the specifics of the allergy.
Weather can play a huge role in allergies and their symptoms during all four seasons of the year. Some people are triggered by rain, others by dry weather. Heat triggers some and cold triggers others. Each of the four season changes can bring new changes in allergy symptoms:
It’s impossible to completely avoid the weather around you, but a few smart habits can help you avoid the worst symptoms. Many asthma cases are tough to impact at all, but some of these and most allergy cases can be improved during the toughest times of the year. A few tips include:
Abe Tomco, MD
As a physician, I love helping people through stressful times when they may be sick or hurt. I want to be the kind of doctor that I would want for my own family. When a doctor takes the time to help their patients understand what is happening and what the plan is, a patient’s anxiety can be greatly reduced. The patient should receive all the information they need to be an equal partner in decision-making and feel empowered about caring for their body. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.