Changing Weather Is the Reason Your Allergy Symptoms Are All Over the Place
Where I'm from, spring is on a strict rain, wind, sun, repeat schedule — and it's the reason I feel like I'm trapped on a seasonal allergy roller coaster.
That's because weather patterns can impact the severity and duration of seasonal allergy symptoms like headaches, itchy eyes, coughing, and a stuffy nose, Dr. Lorelei Vandiver, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist at UCHealth, confirms.
"Seasonal allergy symptoms are driven by allergies to pollen, and most commonly to pollen that comes from plants or trees that utilize wind pollination. Anything that can make pollen more or less airborne can lead to changes in pollen counts and changes in allergy symptoms," she explains.
According to Dr. Vandiver, allergen avoidance is the first step in controlling your allergy symptoms — which can mean staying indoors when the weather calls for wind or thunderstorms.
Wind can carry pollen hundreds of miles, driving allergens from plants and trees into the air, Dr. Vandiver admits.
As for thunderstorms, she shares that the mix of heavy rain and wind can stir up large amounts of irritants, too — some small enough to infiltrate the lungs, which can trigger severe asthma symptoms like chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing.
If you can, try to time your walk around the block after a gentle rain shower — the light moisture has shown to weigh pollen down, Dr. Vandiver advises.
Staying inside on select days could be beneficial, but it's not a solid solution for feeling good. Dr. Vandiver explains that wetter and warmer seasons can increase indoor allergens, like dust mites and mold.
With that said, she urges anyone looking for more reliable relief to talk to an allergist — but, it doesn't hurt to get into some good habits while indoors, too.
Keeping doors and windows closed, using an air conditioner instead of a window fan, purchasing an air purifier, washing your hands or showering after being outside, and using nasal saline to rinse allergens out of your sinuses can help lessen your symptoms at home, Dr. Vandiver shares.
Though this could be tough, Dr. Vandiver adds that keeping any pets that go outdoors out of the bedroom — or wiping them down with a damp cloth after they've been outside — can prevent them from tracking allergens indoors, too.
My sweet mini doodle will be pouty about having to sleep in the living room, but she'll be thrilled to see I'm spending more time cuddling on the couch to temper my symptoms.