Health Tips brought to you by U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group. Our experienced medical experts provide information here that we hope will broaden your health care knowledge.
Today we talk to Dr. Clarence Lee, medical director in Sacramento, California, about allergy season and how weather can affect it – especially in California, which has seen more precipitation than usual this year.
Q: This year has been an “El Niño” year in California. Will the increased amount of rain in the state affect allergy season?
A: High winds and thunderstorms have the ability to increase the amount of allergens in the air. Mold and pollen cause many people with seasonal allergies to experience worse symptoms. Winds can spread and disperse pollen more widely during thunderstorms or extreme weather conditions, which can lead to higher complaint rates in the community concerning allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes and cough.
Q: Are allergens different in climates where there is higher precipitation than climates that get less? How so?
A: Increased moisture in the air tends to lend more favorably to mold formation. This mold can then produce spores that can be released into the air. So, the more moisture in the air, the more likely there will be mold spores around. These mold spores can be allergenic and cause some patients to have various symptoms.
Q: Are allergy symptoms resulting from mold different than allergy symptoms resulting from pollen, grasses or ragweed?
They can differ from person to person, but fundamentally an allergic reaction typical follows a fairly common pattern. When it comes to seasonal allergies, symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, congestion, wheezing and even itching.
The primary difference is that some people may be allergic to pollen or grass, while others are only allergic to mold. Or, someone may experience allergic reactions to all types of allergens.
Q: How might allergy season be different this year for those who suffer from allergies in California?
A: You may see an increase in symptoms due to which allergens are in the air, but it will be individual in nature. If you are allergic to pollen, the rain weighs the pollen down so you may see a decrease in your symptoms. If it’s windy, there may be more pollen in the air, worsening experiences for those who are allergic to pollen. More wind and less humidity, however, may create better conditions for patients who are allergic to mold.