Summer Allergies In San Francisco
Every area has its own unique pollen level and ecosystem. Pollen levels can vary, depending on a number of factors such as the weather and types of plants growing in the region. Rain helps plants grow more bountifully and dry windy weather helps pollen strengthen and spread. This year, San Francisco got so much rain and plant growth that pollen counts are 3-4 times higher than normal. People living in certain regions of the Bay Area will experience varying levels of summer allergies. For example, people living downtown will be spared with fewer allergy symptoms since concrete and high rises help absorb and redirect pollen. However, those living in more rural or suburban areas, surrounded by trees, greenery, and open space, will need to take more caution to avoid summer allergies in San Francisco.
A variety of trees, grasses, weeds, and molds that grow every year are responsible for spreading pollen that irritates some of our immune systems. Some common types of San Francisco allergens are olive trees, mulberry, oak, pine, and sycamore, as well as chamise and sorrel dock, with plenty of other aggravators lurking in the mold and grass. As the season progresses, and other plants come to bloom, your allergies could still get worse.
Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms can vary in severity, including nasal congestion, runny nose, sinus pain, cough, sneezing, sinus headaches, watery/itchy eyes, rash, itching, upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea. Severe symptoms can include swelling of the throat, trouble breathing, hives, throwing up, dizziness, and if untreated, death. On top of all that, allergies can also drain your energy and cause many people to experience brain fog, making it hard to focus or think properly.
Reaching for antihistamines is the only way most of us really know how to deal with allergies, but they dont even offer a solution, just temporary and minor relief with an extra layer of drowsiness. This conventional approach doesnt get to the root of what causes allergy symptoms in the first place. It just helps you block and hide the symptoms you are experiencing.
Tree Pollen Season In Californias Bay Area Is Getting Half A Week Longer Each Year
If you feel like youve been saying, Its a bad year for allergies, year after year, youre not alone.
What I was noticing is every year my patients would say, This is the worst year. And then the next year they would say, Oh my gosh, this year is even worse, says Kari Nadeau, director the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Her team analyzed allergen data from the California Bay Area from 2002 to 2019 to see how allergy seasons are changing as the climate warms.
They found that on average, tree pollen season got about half a week longer every year.
It used to be that trees started pollinating in the Bay Area at around February, Nadeau says. But now weve noticed that they actually start releasing their pollens in December.
The researchers found that outdoor mold season has also gotten longer. Heavier rainfall can lead to the growth of more mold spores. And Nadeau says when rain is followed by a prolonged dry spell, the spores can spread more easily in the wind.
So Nadeau says that as allergy seasons continue to get worse, vulnerable people may need to take additional steps to protect themselves.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media
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Keeping Allergy And Asthma Symptoms Under Control In The New Year
New Years resolutions can feel overwhelming, and guilt-inducing if you cant keep them. The best way to tackle health challenges is in small bits, and that goes for allergy and asthma control, says allergist Mark Corbett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology . The last few years have been hard on everyone, but you still want to figure out ways to improve your health routine. Making small, manageable adjustments is a great start to getting on a healthier path and seeing improvements in controlling allergy and asthma flares.
Here are five New Years resolutions from ACAAI those who suffer from allergies or asthma may want to consider.
Climate Change And Allergies
The impact of climate change has become a dangerous cycle. Rising global temperatures lead to more extreme weather. Weather changes such as heat waves and droughts can lead to a lack of air flow. When the air doesnt move, pollutants react together in the heat and sun. This increases ground-level ozone.1
Ground-level ozone is a major part of urban smog. More air pollution and smog cause higher levels of carbon dioxide . This results in warmer temperatures. And the cycle continues.
This cycle results in increased pollen. This can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Rising CO2 levels lead to longer growing seasons that change flowering time and increase pollen. The length of the growing season refers to the number of days when plant growth takes place. Warmer, longer seasons increase exposure to allergens that trigger asthma and other respiratory and allergic responses.2
If we dont slow down the cycle, pollen production and air pollution will only get worse. Millions of people already have seasonal allergic rhinitis, and pollen allergies are a major cause. If this cycle continues, we may see the number of people with seasonal allergies increase.
Our Allergy Capitals report is an independent research project of AAFA.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, . . Retrieved from allergycapitals.com.
For media and related inquiries, contact .
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Second Reduce Your Exposure To Allergens
Dr. Rubinstein suggests these simple tips to help reduce allergy attacks:
- Cover bed pillows with allergen-proof liners.
- Never wear clothes worn outside to the bed.
- Wash your hands when you come inside to rinse off any pollen.
- Wash bed linens every week, and other bedding such as blankets and entire comforters monthly.
- Keep windows closed from sunrise to mid-morning. Pollen levels peak in the morning. Also, keep windows closed if it has been windy.
- While driving, keep your car windows up and use the recycle air setting to keep pollen out of the car.
Pollen Tied To Warming Temperatures
The researchers analyzed airborne pollen and mold spore data collected at a National Allergy Bureau-certified pollen counting station in Los Altos Hills. They tabulated concentrations of tree, grass and weed pollens and of mold spores in the air weekly throughout the 18-year period. Allergens from more than 100 species were identified, but the scientists focused their analysis on the 20 species most commonly observed in the area. They used environmental data, obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on daily maximum temperatures, precipitation, carbon dioxide levels and wildfire smoke exposure.
Pollen season now starts earlier and ends later for many species of plants and molds, the researchers found. Local tree pollen and mold spore seasons grew by 0.47 and 0.51 weeks per year, respectively. Although the allergy season has lengthened, pollen concentrations have fallen somewhat, an effect that the researchers speculate may be a result of increased urbanization and less wild land in the Bay Area.
The researchers found associations between environmental changes and allergen levels. For trees, peak pollen was linked to rising spring temperatures and falling winter temperatures. Weed pollen was linked to rising spring and summer temperatures, and grass pollen was linked to increasing summer temperatures. Higher levels of mold spores were linked to rainfall followed by drought.
- Erin Digitale
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Common Types Of Summer Allergies In San Francisco
Every year, approximately 20-30% of the population experiences seasonal allergies. They can hit you like a brick out of nowhere and the worst part is that if you get them, they wont just go away. However, you dont want to avoid enjoying the summer because of your allergies!
We get a lot of inquiries about integrative treatment for allergies in San Francisco, especially since the recent weather has made allergy season much stronger. This year the San francisco Bay Area received record rainfall after drought plagued the region for 5 years. Heres a guide to the most common types of summer allergies in San Francisco and how to treat them naturally.
How To Monitor The Weather To Manage Allergies And Asthma
If you live with asthma or allergies, managing your triggers to avoid symptom flare-ups is a part of everyday life. Environmental allergens such as pollen and mold are common triggers. You may not realize that changes in the weather can also affect your asthma and allergies.
Temperature changes, humidity changes, thunderstorms, rain and wind can inflame the airways, leading to flare-ups. People with respiratory conditions tend to breathe through the mouth and doing so brings weather-related irritants directly to the lungs. It also doesnt allow your nose to regulate the humidity and air temperature.
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Pollen Counts Are On The Rise
According to the National Weather Service, this years rainy season was considered the 9th wettest year. In addition, it was the most rain we have had since 1994. However, with this much needed rain, it is predicted that we are going to have very high pollen counts this spring. In fact, pollen.com has already detected significant levels of tree pollen in the air.
Some Of The Worst Cities In The Country For Seasonal Allergies In Tampa Bay Area
Ah-choo! Does spring have you sneezing, wheezing or congested? Where you live may be making your allergies worse.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently ranked the 100 most-populated metropolitan areas on how challenging it is for seasonal allergy sufferers who live there. The foundation used 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data, pollen scores, over-the-counter allergy medicine sales and estimates of allergy-specific health care access.
AAFAs 2022 Allergy Capitals list shows the states with the highest number of challenging seasonal allergy cities are Connecticut, Texas and New York which have three cities each. Florida, Pennsylvania and South Carolina come in second with two cities each.
Find the full list below and decide if its time to move!
California contains the most better than average seasonal allergy cities on the list. The AAFA notes pollen count estimates are limited in Alaska and Hawaii and arent included.
Pollen allergy season usually begins around early February and continues through early summer, depending on where you live. But a study published in the Nature Communications academic journal last month indicates the season could become even longer due to climate change.
Researchers estimate the season could begin up to 40 days earlier than it does now and pollen concentrations even higher all contributing to worse allergy seasons overall.
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Whats The Pollen Forecast
Pollen comes from blooming grasses, plants, trees and weeds. It is carried far and wide by the wind. You might be allergic to one kind of pollen and not another.
Pollen counts vary with the weather and location, so pollen allergies differ dramatically from person to person. For this reason, its essential to know which types of pollen will trigger your allergy symptoms. Monitor your areas pollen count daily. Work with your doctor to avoid exposure and treat symptoms.
Pollen counts measure how much pollen is in the air on a given day. Scientists use air sampling devices to collect particles from the air and then analyze them. They identify types of pollen as well as how much of each is in the sample. A pollen count covers a large area since pollen is airborne and is measured by grains of pollen in a cubic meter.
Government agencies, universities and commercial research institutions measure pollen counts to provide information to the public. They also determine how different allergens affect people and develop medications and treatments.
When Should I Start Taking Allergy Meds
Theres no point in waiting until youre miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you want to keep up your outdoor workouts. In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you begin having symptoms, says Dr. Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.
As for which allergy meds to take, if youre seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, look for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds. Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they dont cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.
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Get Seasonal Allergy Relief No Matter Where You Live
In the spring, the warm weather brings people outdoors to face one of the seasons biggest problems: tree pollen. Grass pollen follows later in spring into summer. Then in the late summer and early fall, weed pollen especially ragweed pollen can trigger symptoms just as kids are returning to school.
Take these actions to reduce your contact with pollen:
- Check pollen counts or forecasts daily and plan outdoor activities on days when pollen counts are expected to be lower.
- Keep windows closed during pollen season or peak pollen times.
- Use central air conditioning or air cleaners with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter and/or HEPA filtration to reduce indoor airborne allergens .
- Wear sunglasses, a mask, and a hat or other hair covering when outdoors.
- Take a shower and wash your hair before going to bed .
- Change and wash clothes after outdoor activities.
- Dry laundry in a clothes dryer or on an indoor rack, not on an outdoor line.
- Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors. Wipe pets off with a towel before they enter your home.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home.
- Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
When cleaning inside your home, be aware that you may stir up pollen that has collected on surfaces. CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly®vacuums and dusting cloths help trap and contain allergens such as pollen.
There are also over-the-counter and prescription allergy treatments available to prevent or treat allergy symptoms:
What Allergens Are In The Air Today
Checking the pollen count is only the beginning. Mold spores are also a problem for many people with allergies and asthma. With vigilance and elbow grease, people with mold allergies can keep indoor mold and mildew at bay.
Its a different story outdoors. Mold spores and seeds fly through the air from late spring through fall and grow on decaying leaves, compost piles and grasses. It peaks during the summer with hot, humid weather.
Mold never really goes away. Snow can cover mold but rarely kill it. Windy, rainy weather during any season sends spores airborne.
Checking pollen and mold counts using a website or local allergy forecast app can help you plan your daily activities and manage your symptoms.
Visit the National Allergy Bureau at AAAAI.org/nab for pollen count information. Visitairnow.gov for Environmental Protection Agency air quality alerts. Both websites also have apps available for smartphones and tablets.
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Allergy Forecast: A Bad Year For Everyone
Like taxes, allergy season is one of those things you just cant avoid. In fact, due to climate change, it may be getting worse. Warmer temperatures lead to more pollen production, so 2021 may be the most intense allergy season yet. And due to COVID-19 quarantine, children may especially have a rough year.
When is allergy season?
It starts in the spring and continues until the fall, but different allergens, the substances that trigger allergies, appear at different times.
: As spring begins, tree pollen is the top allergen, followed by weeds and grasses. In some parts of Maryland, its not unusual to see cars covered by the itchy stuff.
May to July: In May, all the trees, grass and weeds gang up to pump out allergens, making it a bad time for allergy sufferers. This is the start of peak allergy season, which continues until July.
: Enter ragweed, a common flowering plant. Ragweed is the leading cause of seasonal allergies, with 75% of all sufferers allergic to it.
With temperatures falling and plants starting to go dormant, the air starts to clear, bringing an end to outdoor allergy season. Now its possible to breathe a sigh of relief without coughing.
See the Interactive Allergy Forecaster for allergy conditions where you live.
COVID-19 and childrens allergies
Surviving allergy season
If your or your childs allergy symptoms are severe or continue a long time, your health care provider may be able to help or refer you to an allergist.
Are Your Seasonal Allergies Getting Worse Youre Not Alone
If it feels like your allergy-induced runny nose and red-rimmed eyes are getting worse each year and lasting longer youre not imagining things.
The Bay Area experiences three pollen spikes throughout the year. Several varieties of local bushes and trees release pollen beginning in January. Pollen from annual grasses increases in the spring. Beginning in June there is a surge in summer weed pollen. Seasonal rain can also cause both trees and grasses to pollinate at the same time, making whats good for our water supply a pain in the ear, nose and throat for allergy sufferers.
Pollen seasons like one we experienced in 2019 are particularly bad because it rained so heavily and abruptly stopped, and everything pollinated, said Brown & Toland physician Dr. Michelle Huffaker, of the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group of the Bay Area. We experienced an overlap between trees and grasses, with really high burdens of pollen each. That was particularly bad for folks symptoms.
Here are some tips for coping with summer allergies in the Bay Area.