The arrival of summer means more time spent outdoors. It also means a rise in allergies for many people. Keep sniffles and sneezes at bay this season by avoiding these common irritants.
Though pollen in general is responsible for making many of those with allergies miserable, ragweed is particularly problematic in the summer. With 17 different spices across the US and the ability to disperse pollen up to 400 miles, this plant can cause symptoms that include runny nose, eye irritation, a scratchy throat and even hives.
This air pollutant increases during the summer as the sunlight reacts with chemicals in fuel emissions. In some places, the ozone level is so high that it creates a cloud, which can be unpleasant for those who suffer from allergy symptoms.
Insect Bites and Stings
Insect activity peaks in the summer, a problem that, for most, is merely an itchy situation. However, for those who are allergic to the stings of bees and wasps, encountering one of these nasty bugs can require a trip to an urgent care facility or hospital. Reactions can range from pain and swelling to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.
Another irritating pest that is more populous in the summer is the dust mite. Microscopic in size, these insects enjoy humidity and hang out just about anywhere that a home has upholstery. Like other allergens, they tend to cause sneezing and runny noses. Dust mites can be kept at bay with regular house cleaning and by keeping linens washed.
Many areas experience high humidity in the summer, which means more damp places both indoors and outdoors. Anything that stays damp or wet for too long is a prime breeding ground for mold. Certain mold spores hit their highest levels during the summer months and can travel from place to place. Symptoms of mold allergy are similar to other allergies, though some people may experience an asthmatic reaction.
Cooking outside produces delicious seasonal dishes, but it can also trigger allergies or asthma symptoms in people who are sensitive to smoke. This sensitivity stems from being allergic to the pollen of the tree from which the burning wood was taken. Mesquite is the most common trigger of smoke allergies.
Picnics, barbecues and festivals expose people to foods that they don’t normally eat. Reactions can occur to hidden ingredients in potluck dishes or additives in fair and carnival food, causing unwitting consumers to feel less than their best. Some people also suffer from oral allergy syndrome in which certain seasonal fruits cross-react in the body to produce allergic symptoms that often manifest as tingling or swelling in the mouth.
Hiking in the woods or even hanging out in the backyard during the summer can expose unsuspecting vacationers to poison ivy and other itchy plants. The oils in the ivy leaves cause an unpleasant skin reaction that looks as bad as it feels. Kids are often prone to brushes with poison ivy since they tend to spend more time outdoors and aren’t always diligent about where they play.
About the Author: Sam is a lover of all things summer, especially summer foods, and is currently in training to be a Wellness Consultant.