Dry conditions don’t help allergy sufferers

aibarra@mercedsunstar.comJune 2, 2014 

Dry weather and high temperatures are typically bad news for people with allergies or respiratory problems.

According to Dr. Praveen Buddiga, an allergy and asthma specialist at Baz Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center in Merced, breathing dry air can trigger several respiratory ailments.

The main concern during dry, windy conditions is allergies, Buddiga said.

Although allergies are usually associated with the early spring, many people may notice their symptoms become worse in drier conditions.

“Current research shows that dry weather can make allergens more potent,” Buddiga said. “When it’s very dry, the dust and other irritants can cause symptoms to worsen.”

But according to Dr. Shaheen Counts, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Mercy Medical Center, that depends on what people are allergic to.

“Pollen is stronger in the spring, but some grasses are more common in the summer and if you happen to be allergic to these grasses, then you’re obviously going to notice your allergies will become worse,” he said.

Counts explained that nasal passages are lined with microscopic hairs called cilia that help sweep away dust particles, but those tiny hairs need moisture to work properly. Dry weather will cause allergies to act up.

Dry nasal passageways are also the main reason for nosebleeds during summertime. The best ways to combat nosebleeds are to stay hydrated and humidify one’s home, both doctors said.

Counts added that any seasonal change can affect allergies, as it takes the body a while to adjust to those changes.

“Different things flourish in different seasons,” he said, “that’s why it’s important to do allergy testing.”

Counts has three recommendations for people who suffer from allergies.

First, he suggests sufferers purchase hypoallergenic linens to keep dust mites away, especially from beds. He also recommends they investing in air filters to clear allergens that sneak into homes when doors and windows are opened.

Lastly, Counts said it’s a good idea for people to change into a fresh pair of clothes as soon asthey enter their home, to prevent the spreading of allergens that stick to their outside clothes.

Other widespread respiratory problems during summertime are asthma attacks and bronchitis.

Irritants such as smoke and smog, which can cause serious damage to the respiratory lining, are commonly encountered during this time of year, Buddiga said.

Buddiga explained that children are more vulnerable to experiencing respiratory problems because their immune systems are still developing. The elderly are also vulnerable, as their immune systems are weaker.

Buddiga recommends that people with asthma work with their doctors to develop an asthma action plan.

Sun-Star staff writer Ana B. Ibarra can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or aibarra@mercedsunstar.com.

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