Weather changes bring on seasonal allergies
It's allergy time in Montana.
Spring and early summer are peak times for allergies, when everything is blooming and grasses are cross-pollinating, but some people suffer just as much at other times of year.
Dr. David Mangold of the Allergy and Asthma Center in Kalispell, says, “The fall is the worst time of year for those with asthma because the air quality drops. Inversions, caused by cold air in the morning and warm air in the late afternoon, cause pollutants from stoves and heating to get trapped in the air, compromising air quality. More viruses are also present at this time of year.”
Winter can also present challenges because of indoor air circulation when doors and windows are closed tight. The key, Mangold says, is to keep bedroom air as clean as possible. Keeping pets out of this room and keeping the door closed are important. An air purifier for the bedroom is helpful too. Using a nasal spray daily is an easy way to avoid many problems, along with getting allergy shots before pollen season starts.
“Most people start treatments after symptoms begin and then it’s too late,” he says. Using nasal spray can reduce symptoms up to 50 percent, according to Mangold. Those who suffer from asthma-like symptoms during outdoor exercise may be reacting to the temperature. Cold air can constrict the blood vessels in the lungs. Rapid breathing of cold air can cause the lungs to react with symptoms similar to asthma, he said. Using a mild inhaler before exercising in these conditions is an excellent preventive treatment, he said.
Mangold says people don’t have to compromise their quality of life because they have allergies or asthma. Simple, easy steps can help manage symptoms and open up a full life of activities and freedom in the outdoors.
Mangold can be reached at the Allergy and Asthma Center at montanaallergy.com.
— Editor's note: this article appeared in a previous issue of Montana Health Journal