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If You Suffer From Allergies Or Asthma, Thunderstorms Can Make Them Worse

by Brett Mills

Summertime is the time for fun in the sun. It's also a time for allergies and hay fever if you're among the many people who suffer from those conditions. And if you also suffer from asthma, summer allergens can trigger serious asthmatic episodes. And although you might think that a summer thunderstorm would clear the air of these allergens and bring relief, thunderstorms can actually have the opposite effect. Here's what you need to know about allergies and thunderstorm asthma, how to know if you have them, and how you can prevent and treat these conditions.

Allergies, Hay Fever, and Asthma

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, occurs when someone is allergic to certain substances in the environment, typically pollen, mold, or grasses. It usually occurs during the spring and summer months when pollen, mold, and grasses are more likely to be present. The body reacts to exposure to these allergens with itchy eyes, runny nose, and scratchy throat.

Asthma is another condition that occurs with exposure to substances in the environment. It causes coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Often people who suffer from asthma also suffer from allergies and hay fever, which can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Although allergies and hay fever are nuisances and can make you feel miserable, severe asthma can be debilitating and even life-threatening.

Thunderstorm Asthma

Thunderstorm asthma occurs when rain, humidity, and high winds cause pollen particles to swell and burst, releasing their allergenic payload into the atmosphere. These smaller pollen particles can be carried into the smaller airways of the lungs and cause an allergy-related asthma attack. Typically, people who suffer from thunderstorm asthma also suffer from seasonal hay fever. If you suffer from hay fever as well as asthma, you may want to take precautions when thunderstorms approach. Avoid being outside right before, during, or after a storm. Stay inside, close your doors and windows, and have your air conditioner set to recirculate. But there are other steps you can take to reduce your chances of an asthma attack.

Prevention and Treatment

Asthma is never something to ignore or take lightly. If you suffer from seasonal hay fever, allergies, or have had symptoms of asthma, you need to talk with your physician. A doctor can perform allergy testing to determine what is causing your allergies and administer allergy shots and prescribe medications to help reduce the likelihood of allergies and asthma attacks as well as help mitigate the effects.

For more information about allergy treatment, contact a local doctor.