Allergy Asthma Technology Home Page

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Heat and Humidity can Worsen Allergy, Asthma Symptoms

The summer can be a difficult time for those with allergies and asthma. There are certain types of environments that increase pollen levels, as well as environments that make it challenging for individuals with asthma. The extreme heat and humidity can make worsen symptoms for both conditions. Knowing the types of environments that create high pollen levels or cause breathing difficulties can help you to be more prepared when going outdoors this summer.


Seasonal allergies occur during the spring, summer, and/or fall, depending on which type of pollens a person is allergic to. Trees pollinate during the spring while grasses pollinate in the summer. Weeds and molds usually pollinate in the fall. Knowing the type of environment certain pollens thrive in, and at what time of the day, will help to prevent allergy symptoms.

Heat: Pollen levels are at their highest on days of extreme heat. The higher the temperature, the higher the pollen level will be.

Humidity: Although humidity can make the temperature feel warmer, it actually moistens pollens and weighs them down so they are unable to travel through the air. This reduces pollen levels. Therefore, allergy sufferers should beware of dry, hot days, rather than humid days.

Rain: As with the humidity, rain moistens pollens and weighs them down. However, a thunderstorm can actually stir up pollens due to high wind speeds.

Wind: As previously mentioned the wind stirs up pollens and allows them to travel through the air causing a spike in pollen counts.

Time of day: During the spring, trees and other plants tend to pollinate at midday or in the afternoon. During the summer, grasses pollinate between 8:00 am and noon, and again between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

Therefore, seasonal allergy sufferers should try to avoid going outdoors on hot, dry and windy days, especially during the times of pollination. Humid or rainy days are more favorable, but you should still be prepared when going outdoors. Take the medications prescribed by allergists, wear sunglasses to keep pollens out of eyes, and wear allergy masks to prevent breathing in pollens. Keep the AC on indoors on hot days to clean the air of pollens that have snuck inside. You could also use air purifiers to eliminate allergens from interior settings.

While humidity may reduce the amount of pollen in the air, mold spores thrive in humidity. Those allergic to mold spores should be prepared when going outdoors on humid or rainy days.


Asthma and allergy conditions are often related. This is because some allergy symptoms include coughing, wheezing, or asthma attacks. Therefore, those with severe seasonal allergies should refrain from going outdoors for long periods of time during the summer and should use their inhaler before going outside.

However, those actually diagnosed with asthma, must be careful during the summer months in general. Hot and humid days make the air thicker and harder to breathe, which can cause an asthma attack. According to, “heat and humidity create thermal inversions that trap allergic particulates and ozone close to earth, which makes hot and humid days dangerous for people with lung problems.” Asthmatic individuals should not leave the house without their inhalers, or other asthma treatment. They should also keep cool and stay hydrated, because becoming overheated makes the body work harder and require more oxygen.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vitamin D Dificiecy May Explain Allergies, Asthma in Obesity

As of recently, there have been numerous studies that link allergy risks with obesity. More specifically, in children and teens that are obese. One study in particular was carried out in order to figure out exactly why obese individuals are more likely to have allergic reactions. The study shows that a vitamin D deficiency may be directly associated with a heightened allergic reaction.

Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD recently completed a study in which they gathered a group of 86 children between the ages of 10 and 18. More than half of the subjects were at or above the 85th percentile for age- and sex-adjusted body mass index (BMI), while the rest were at the normal weight for their age and sex. The study consisted of the testing of blood levels for vitamin D, immunoglobulin E (IgE), leptin, adiponectin, and cytokines that contribute to allergy and asthma.

The study revealed that the higher BMIs had significantly higher blood levels of leptin and lower adiponectin levels. Both of these substances have been previously linked to an enhanced allergic response. The study also showed that most of the obese children had a vitamin D deficiency. “The relationship between BMI and markers of allergic disease seemed to depend on vitamin D deficiency,” stated the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Candace Percival. “It was a dependent cofactor for adolescents having this allergy profile. It’s hard to say if there’s any sort of causal relationship, but this makes us wonder if vitamin D may be a mediator of the increased risk for allergy in the setting of obesity.”

It is known that vitamin D is important and necessary for immune system function. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic factors that aide the immune system in preventing allergic reactions from occurring. Many people that are obese often have a vitamin D deficiency. While the reason for this has not yet been confirmed, most doctors and researchers believe that people who are obese may be less likely to “convert vitamin D into its hormonally active form,” according to WedMD. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that much of it is distributed in fat tissue. An obese person may take in as much vitamin D as a person of normal weight, but their blood levels will be lower. This means obese people may need to obtain more vitamin D than the average person.

Obese individuals should take extra precautions when it comes to allergies and asthma to prevent allergic reactions and asthma attacks. During allergy season (spring, summer, and sometimes fall), it is important to refrain from being outdoors for long periods of time, especially on windy days because that is when pollen travels and tends to be at high levels. When going outdoors, individuals should take medicines prescribed by allergists, or should wear allergy masks and sunglasses to keep allergens out of eyes and airways. It is also important to keep the home allergy-free. Outdoor allergens can travel indoors through vents, windows, and tiny cracks in the home. There are also types of indoor allergens, such as dust mites. Individuals prone to allergies and asthma should keep air purifiers around the home, often change furnace filters (once a season), frequently wash bedding in hot water, as well as clothing.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Asthmatic Children Must be Cautious During Allergy Season

During the spring and summer seasons, parents with asthmatic children must be well aware of any new developments in their child’s asthma symptoms. The spring and summer seasons are when plants and trees pollinate, allowing pollen particles to flow through the atmosphere, sometimes causing allergic reactions in humans. There have been numerous studies that show a strong relationship between asthma and allergy conditions. Seasonal allergies can worsen, or even create, asthma symptoms in children and teens.

People tend to mistake seasonal allergies, also referred to as hay fever, as the common cold, because symptoms are similar. Hay fever symptoms include runny or stuffy nose, excessive sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, tickly throat, coughing, fatigue, and other discomfort. These symptoms can cause more complications in those with existing asthma conditions by further preventing them to breathe normally. When an asthmatic person is exposed to an allergen it can cause them to cough or wheeze.

Because of this, parents must be cautious when exposing their child to potential harmful allergens. Sometimes asthma and/or allergy medications are not enough to eliminate symptoms completely. Constantly check pollen counts in your area. When they are high, keep children indoors. If they must go outdoors, put them in an allergy mask that prevents them from breathing in harmful particles that could potentially cause an asthma attack.

Allergens can make their way indoors, so take extra precautions to make sure the interior atmosphere is allergen-free. There are also indoor allergens that children can be allergic to, such as dust mites, cockroach particles, and pet dander. Air purifiers can help with this problem by attracting allergen particles and eliminating them from the air. Air purifiers should be placed in bedrooms, where children spend the most time (sleeping).

However, the opposite can happen in a child with seasonal allergies. Children can obtain asthma-like symptoms from having an allergy condition. Be sure to speak with your doctor about any new symptoms you notice in your child. Asthma treatments can be overwhelming for young children, so try to find asthma products and treatments that are more kid-friendly.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

5 Allergens That Can Ruin Your Summer

The summertime is a time to have fun, relax, and enjoy spending time outdoors. A warm, sunny day can instantly turn someone’s mood around. However, there are factors that can make someone’s summer miserable: allergies. There are many different summer allergens that can ruin a good time. Here are five allergens that can ruin your summer and how to prevent that from happening:

1.) Pollen
Although this is an obvious one, allergies to pollen are quite common and can cause a great deal of discomfort. Many Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, also referred to as hay fever. Symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat and fatigue. Different types of plants pollenate at different times of the year, depending on where you are located in the country. Most trees pollinate in the spring, but can pollinate at virtually any time of the year. Grasses pollinate in the summer, while weeds pollinate in the late summer, early fall. If you experience heightened allergy symptoms during one of these particular seasons, you are most likely allergic to the type of plant that pollinates during that time of the year.  

To prevent symptoms from occurring, check your local pollen counts. Pollen counts are usually higher on windy days, so be sure to take that into account. If you have prescription medicines, be sure to take those before going outdoors. For further protection, you can wear allergy masks while outdoors. For example, if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time gardening or cutting the grass, it is best to wear an allergy mask to prevent breathing in pollen particles. You should also wear sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of eyes. Shower immediately after being outdoors to rinse pollen out of hair and off of skin.

2.) Mold
Most molds pollinate in the late summer and early fall, but can also grow at any time of the year. Some molds thrive in dry conditions, while others thrive in humid conditions. They can grow on damp or rotting logs, leaves, and grass. Their pollen is called spores, and as with pollen, they are easily carried by the wind.

In order to keep from breathing in mold spores, you can also wear allergy masks when outdoors. However, mold spores can also enter a home through vents or through cracks in windows and doors. To eliminate mold spores from your home, place an air purifier in one of the rooms of your home, preferably the room you spend the most amount of time, such as a bedroom. Air purifiers capture allergen particles from the air and remove them, making the interior atmosphere breathable and allergy free.

3.) Sunscreen
It is possible to be allergic to exposure to the sun, but individuals can also be allergic to the chemicals found in most sunscreens. To be sure you don’t have an allergic reaction while enjoying your time in the sun, you can use chemical-free sunscreen. The chemicals in which people are typically allergic to, or product skin reactions, found in sunscreen are benzophenone, octocrylene, PABA, and cinnamates. Chemical-free sunscreens do not contain any of these chemicals but will protect skin against sun the same way other sunscreens do.

4.) Dust Mites
The summertime is the ideal time for dust mites because they thrive in humid environments. They live within bedding, in carpets, on furniture, and in the fabrics of clothing. They feed off of dead skin particles from humans. Humans are allergic to the waste that they produce, causing symptoms similar to seasonal allergies (sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, fatigue, etc.) To get rid of dust mites you need to frequently wash clothing, bedding, and other washable items in hot water. Or, you could use allergy-free bedding the keeps dust mites from entering, along with other allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, and more. Allergy-free bedding is woven tightly to keep allergens out for healthy sleeping.

5.) Germs
Germs are not an allergen, but many people associate colder weather with getting sick from germs and bacteria. Germs and bacteria can also thrive during the summer in warmer conditions. You should be especially careful when attending picnics or cookouts. Make sure that the meat you are eating has been thoroughly cooked so that there is no bacteria found inside. Also, be careful when eating foods that have been sitting out in the sun all day, especially if they are supposed to be kept cool. When consuming these germs and bacteria, people can get food poisoning. Also, remember to keep sanitary and wash your hands often. Just because it’s summertime, doesn’t mean you won’t get sick!