Articles On Seasonal Allergies
Do your eyes water on windy days? Are you always stuffy when it rains? That’s no surprise. Weather is a common allergy trigger.
The connection between your symptoms and the weather depends on what youâre allergic to. Here are a few common triggers:
- Dry, windy days. Wind blows pollen into the air, causing hay fever. If you have pollen allergies, shut the windows and stay indoors on windy days.
- Rainy or humid days. Moisture makes mold grow, both indoors and out. Dust mites also thrive in humid air. But if you’re allergic to pollen, humid or damp days are good. The moisture weighs down the pollen, keeping it on the ground.
- Cold air. Many people with allergic asthma find that cold air is a problem, especially when they exercise outside. It can trigger a coughing fit.
- Heat. Air pollution is worst on hot summer days. Ozone and smog can be a serious trigger for people with allergic asthma.
The change of seasons also has a big effect on allergies.
Why Does Cold Weather Make My Asthma Worse
When its cold, the air is colder and drier
Breathing in dry, cold air irritates your airways. Your lungs then react to this by becoming tighter and this makes it more difficult to breathe.
Our bodies are designed to respond to changes in air temperature. However, some people are more sensitive to changes in temperature and may have a stronger reaction, which includes asthma symptoms that are set off by cold air. The good news is, your asthma is less likely to be triggered by cold weather if its well controlled.
You can also help yourself by trying to breathe through your nose more, rather than just your mouth. This is because when you breathe through your nose, cold air is warmed up by passing through your nose, throat and then your upper airways. If you just breathe through your mouth, this warming up process doesnt happen, which means the cold air dries out the moisture in your lungs.
Cold air makes you produce more mucus
When its cold, you might produce more mucus than you normally would.
This is because when cold air enters your nose, the vessels in your nasal cavity get bigger and congested, which causes more mucus to be produced. This extra mucus is produced because your body is trying to create perfect conditions, by adding warmth and humidity, while also filtering the air thats going into your body. This extra mucus is why you can get a runny nose in winter.
Cold weather brings colds and flu
Cold weather forces us indoors
Can The Weather Affect My Asthma
If you are someone who suffers from asthma, you may have noticed that your symptoms become worse during certain types of weather. This is not a coincidence! Different climates can result in allergy and asthma triggers, and exacerbate symptoms.
Avoiding your triggers is ideal in preventing an asthma attack, but it is not always practical. Understanding why certain weather may be affecting you will help you take the proper precautions.
Lets take a look at how different types of weather could be affecting your asthma:
Ways To Manage Asthma In The Summer Heat And Humidity
Often for chronic respiratory conditions, like asthma, prevention of flare-ups is the best treatment. Preventative measures include using air conditioners to reduce humidity and pollution, changing the air condition filter every season, having your rescue inhaler available at all times and using it when there is cough or chest tightness, saysNoha Polack, MD, a pediatrician at Progressive Pediatrics in Union City, New Jersey.
Dr. Poinsett and Dr. Reddy recommend the following steps to manage asthma and avoid triggers during the summer months:
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Are Dehumidifiers Good For Asthma
ByMeg Walters28 September 2021
There’s nothing worse than struggling for breath. So, are dehumidifiers good for asthma, or is it just another urban myth?
Whether you’re the type of person who loves the heat, or you thrive in colder temperatures, when the air gets humid in the summer, we can all find ourselves struggling to breathe normally. Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. When humidity levels reach over 50%, we tend to suffer from the heat more than usual, as the moisture in the air prevents our sweat, the body’s cooling mechanism, from evaporating.
Because high humidity can be so uncomfortable, especially in hot temperatures, many families invest in a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels in their homes. Dehumidifiers use a fan to essentially suck excess moisture out of the air and release drier air back into the room, thereby rebalancing your home’s humidity levels.
While most people use dehumidifiers to make their homes feel a little cooler and fresher in the summer, you may be surprised to learn that the machines can also be useful for people with asthma. Today, we’ll be discussing how dehumidifiers can help to ease the symptoms of asthma and why, along with some tips on how to use a dehumidifier to breathe a little easier when things get humid.
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Avoid The Triggers You Can Control
Be aware of your usual triggers that might coincide with hot weather cigarette smoke, bushfires and pollen in particular. Air pollution and ozone levels can trigger asthma symptoms in some people with asthma.
Keep an eye on the weather alerts for high pollution or high ozone days. On days of high pollution or ozone, or when there is bushfire smoke, try to stay indoors with the doors and windows closed. Also try to do as little outdoor activity as possible, especially later in the day. If your asthma symptoms do start, act promptly to stop it turning into an asthma attack.
Check The Weather Pollen And Pollution Forecasts
To prepare for a heatwave, its a good idea to set up email alerts for hot weather. This way, youll know when its expected to be hot and you can see how long the hot weather will last.
Remember, high pollen and pollution levels can combine with heat and increase your chance of a flare-up of your symptoms. So, if you get hay fever, keep an eye on pollen levels and avoid going out when they are high. You can also check air pollution levels in your area for the next five days.
You can read more about asthma and pollen on our sister charitys website, Asthma UK.
Its a good idea to have a self-management plan in place to help you manage and understand your symptoms. Create a plan with the support of your GP or nurse.
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How To Recognize Early Asthma Attack Symptoms
Common symptoms of asthma:
- Chest tightness
- Breathing rapidly
An asthma attack occurs when these symptoms intensify. Recognizing these symptoms as they worsen can prevent an attack from becoming life-threatening.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, five things happen during an asthma attack:
- The airway branches become more sensitive and react to things that may trigger an asthma attack.
- The lining of the lungs swells, becoming more and more inflamed.
- Mucus begins to clog the airways.
- Bronchospasm occurs, which is when the muscles surrounding the airways tighten.
- It becomes increasingly more difficult to move air through the airways.
Respiratory Allergies And Humidity
The most common allergy-causing irritants in the home are those that are breathed in and then irritate the respiratory tract. Allergens such as mold spores, fungus, dust and pet dander are all affected by humidity.
When the relative humidity in the home is too high , it will create ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria, mold, fungus and for the reproduction of dust mites. Of course, as the populations of these allergens increase, your allergic reactions become more frequent and intensify.
When the relative humidity in the home is too low , allergens such as bacteria, mold and fungal spores, and the bodies and feces of dust mites dry out and blow into the air from which they are more readily inhaled by the allergy sufferer.
Dry air will further irritate allergy sufferers by drying the delicate membranes of the nose and respiratory tract, causing difficulty breathing, a sore irritated throat and snoring that can even trouble those who do not suffer from allergies.
The irritating effects of dry air can be especially hard on young children during the winter months, and pediatricians often recommend that parents humidify the air in childrens’ rooms at night to relieve breathing problems and spontaneous nosebleeds.
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Humidity And Cold Air
Humidity and cold air can be a problem when they occur together. Because both humidity and cold air improve the symptoms of croup, many parents have also thought the practices may also be good for asthma. However, both of these can be asthma triggers.
Humid air is more likely to harbor triggers such as fungus, molds, and dust mites that might worsen your asthma symptoms. When you inhale cold, dry air, it irritates and drys out the mucous membranes that line your lungs and respiratory system. This decreases the effectiveness of your body’s natural defense mechanisms against viruses and bacteria. As a result, you may have an increased risk of a respiratory infection that can worsen your asthma. Similarly, this can worsen allergy symptoms that are another common trigger for asthma .
Find Balance With Symptoms And Seasonality
I have allergy symptoms year-round, from dust mites, pollen, pets, and mold. Ive learned that maintaining a comfortable humidity level is important to ensure my health and reduce my symptoms.
Its impossible to manage the humidity outdoors, and sometimes we cant control where we live due to jobs and family.
However, we can control the humidity level inside our homes. Ive realized that having high humidity or really low humidity doesnt help my allergy symptoms.
I feel best when the humidity is kept at the 30-50% range where I dont feel too dry and I dont feel too stuffy. If its too high, sometimes Ill break out in eczema from dust mites.
During spring and autumn seasons, I find the humidity levels are preferred indoors and outdoors, however, its the summer and winter where humidity levels increase and decrease outside of the 30-50% range.
When this occurs I use a humidifier and a dehumidifier to add or remove moisture from the air. These are my picks for best dehumidifier for allergies.
People tend to spend more time indoors in the summer and winter so these devices can really help. It wont change the outside humidity but it can help make the inside of your home much more comfortable.
A humidifier and dehumidifier also helped me sleep better without feeling too dry or too sweaty.
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Causes Of Summer Asthma Symptoms
Although asthma symptoms tend to be most common in fall and winter, summer presents some unique risks.
Heat: The mere fact that you have asthma means your lungs are especially sensitive to extreme heat, and so breathing in hot air can aggravate your airways and trigger symptoms. What’s more, if you become dehydrated, you will naturally breathe more rapidly than normal, which also can play a role in setting off symptoms.
Humidity:Humid air is heavy air, and so it’s harder to breathe, especially when it’s also hot. In addition, moist air traps lung irritants such as pollen, mold, and, indoors, dust mites.
Ozone:Ozone is a product of atmospheric chemicals and sunlight. Although somewhat controversial, some researchers believe this pollutant can exacerbate asthma, based on studies that show lung function worsens in the days after ozone levels peak, affecting people with asthma and even people without it.
Summer Allergens:If you have allergic asthma and are triggered by certain allergens that are especially prevalent in June, July, and August, it stands to reason you’re more likely to have asthma attacks during those months.
- : Tree pollen high
- May through early June: Grass pollen high
- : Outdoor mold spores peak, then decrease after the first frost
- : Weed pollen high
Geniani Top Fill Humidifier For Asthma And Allergies
We have tested this GENIANI 2-in-1 humidifier for asthma and allergies, the best humidifier for toddler asthma, the best humidifier for a child with asthma, and the best cool mist humidifier for asthma-suffering infants.
This machine is ideal for children since theres no hot water involved in cool mist humidifiers. Moreover, this humidifier is capable of diffusing essential oils. If you want to add in some aromatherapy experience or benefits for you or your children, go right ahead.
It has a large 4L capacity, ideal for large spaces or if you want a long runtime, make it a safe and reliable choice for kids with asthma. Also, comes with a smart mode for maintaining a healthy humidity level automatically with a built-in intelligent sensor.
This machine from LEVOIT is perfect for large rooms with a mist output of up to 500 mL/hr, its the perfect option for large rooms as well as small homes. It can easily handle space up to 750 square feet without an effort.
Moreover, this machine has a 6-liter tank capacity with a runtime of about 60 hours in the low-mist setting. Also, it has both cool and warm mist settings that suit your homes humidity.
The cool mist setting is perfect for clearing sinuses and alleviating asthma, while the warm mist is better for killing bacteria in the water. The main downside is that adding water can feel like a chore, and the design of the water tank could use some improvement.
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Inflamed Dermatitis Eczema And Asthma
Eczema and other forms of dermatitis are often exacerbated by changes in temperature and humidity. When sweat remains on your skin in high-humidity conditions, it can lead to heat rash an itchy, uncomfortable skin irritation that can occur when your sweat glands get clogged.
Extremely low humidity conditions can also worsen skin irritation. Oftentimes, eczema becomes inflamed in winter as suffers travel between overheated buildings and cold outdoor temperatures. The low humidity typically associated with cold winter months can worsen flare-ups as the skin is drained of moisture and essential oils.
For people with asthma, humidity levels can influence the frequency and severity of symptoms. Mold and dust mites thrive in high-moisture environments, so elevated indoor humidity levels can increase the amount of airborne irritants you’re exposed to on a daily basis. In addition, high humidity coupled with high temperatures can increase airway resistance when you breathe and trigger coughing and airway constriction in people with even mild asthma.
Why Humid Conditions Make Asthma Worse
Research reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests that shortness of breath and coughing is made worse in hot, humid environments. Its thought that these conditions affect the normal functions of the air passages through heat stress, and can lead to increased asthma attacks. Trapped pollutants, such as ozone and exhaust fumes, in the air only make things worse for city dwellers. Its well known that during the hot summer months, and especially at the peak in late summer, trips to the emergency room become more frequent.
As humidity rises, other summer pollutants present additional irritants, and these can include:
- Smoke from fires, whether natural or from barbecue fires
- Rising pollen counts
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Understanding Humidity And Asthma
In the simplest terms, humidity is the amount of water or moisture in the air. When the media talks about humidity levels, they’re referring to what is known as “relative humidity.”1 This is the percentage of water in the air, compared to the maximum amount of water the air can actually hold at the current temperature. Hot air can hold more moisture than cold air. So, a relative humidity level of 70% on a hot day is going to feel a lot “wetter” than the same humidity level on a cold day.
According to the National Weather Service, humidity during hot summer months of less than 55 percent is “comfortable.” Fifty-five to 65 percent humidity begins to feel “sticky,” and anything over 65% is “oppressive.”2 You can expect that humidity becomes an irritant type trigger for many asthmatics at levels of 65% and higher.
How Do You Stop An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
If you are diagnosed with asthma, you should make sure you have an inhaler with you at all times. However, if a worst case scenario occurs and you experience when you dont have a reliever inhaler with you, there are practical steps you can take to ease your symptoms.
- Stay as calm as you can find a way to reduce any anxiety, such as holding someones hand or playing music
- Sit upright this will help keep your airways open
- Breathe slowly and deeply slowing down your breathing can reduce the risk of hyperventilating
- If something appears to have triggered your asthma, such as breathing in cold air or being exposed to smoke, move away from the trigger
- Try breathing exercises the pursed lip breathing technique can help you deal with shortness of breath
- Have a drink containing caffeine there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine can help improve airway function for up to four hours.
Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, so at the very least, aim to keep a spare reliever inhaler in your handbag, locker at work or coat pocket.
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