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HEALTH: How to deal with late summer allergies

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Tree pollen is mostly responsible for the spring allergies, but in the summer, it is weeds and grasses that are the culprits.

These weeds include ragweed, cockleweed, pigweed, Russian thistle, sagebrush and tumbleweed. The grasses include bermuda, blue grasses, orchard, red top, sweet vernal and Timothy grass.                                                                                  

The most common offender, however, is ragweed, which starts to bloom in August, and its pollen can travel for hundreds of miles.
 
Summer heat and humidity with added air pollutants add to the burden of allergic disease. Dust mites love humid environment, and, therefore, those who have allergies to dust mites may feel worse as well.

Those with allergies may experience worsening of their symptoms: watery eyes, sneezing, itch nose, throat and ears, and allergic shiners (swollen dark circles under the eyes).

Exacerbated allergic rhinitis may result in worsening of nasal congestion, increase in drainage from the nose or postnasal drip, or result in chronic inflammation of sinuses (chronic sinusitis) causing sensation of sinus pressure and headaches.

Such a chronic inflammatory process often results in symptoms of fatigue, low energy levels, and feeling of weakness.

If one is allergic to molds, heat and humidity will also provoke worsening of symptoms and over time may result in chronic fungal sinusitis where a fungus ball is growing inside the sinuses.

Asthma symptoms may be more difficult to control and require more frequent rescue medication doses.  

Frequently, those who suffer from allergies also have asthma or symptoms of asthma that has not been diagnosed yet, such as chronic dry cough . If so, you need to see your doctor, as this can be life threatening if not treated and controlled.

August 13, 2012 - 6:21am


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