Top 6 Things Making Your Allergies Worse

Springtime means sunshine and warmth, but it also brings sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and so many more annoying allergy symptoms. In this post, we'll look at several factors pertaining to the air you breathe that could be making these reactions a lot worse.

When your body senses foreign invaders, such as viruses or bacteria, the immune system goes to work, churning out proteins called antibodies.

Antibodies fight the foreign substance and can help ward off future occurrences of that issue. Allergies are simply these same immune responses but applied to foreign particles (like pollen and pet dander) that are usually harmless in most people.

See, your immune system produces antibodies to go after these allergens, just like if they were true threats to your health. Your body may start causing your eyes to water, throat to itch, nose to run, or inflame your skin or airways to fight the allergens.

Severity differs between individuals, but various factors can make allergic reactions more serious or frequent. One of these is the air quality where you live. Poor air quality allows more of these allergens into the air, causing you to have more reactions. 

With that in mind, let's look at some factors related to air quality that worsen your allergies.

1. Heat

Air quality tends to be the worst on sweltering days. The hot temperatures and the sunlight work together to turn various chemical compounds in the air into ground-level ozone. Ozone on its own can lead to respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath — not to mention watery/itchy eyes and scratchy throat. 

However, some studies have indicated that elevated ozone levels can increase allergen content in certain pollens, too. As a result, even those with mild pollen allergies will experience worse symptoms in smoggy areas.

Additionally, plants tend to increase pollination in response to various environmental triggers independent of ozone levels. In particular, grass tends to pollinate when it’s hot outside. That’s why, as the springtime warms up, your pollen allergies may start to kick in or get worse.

One other consideration: in late spring, when temperatures start climbing, many retreat indoors to escape the heat. Should your indoor air be poor, you could see worse or more frequent allergic reactions (covered more later).

2. Bugs

Once it gets warm outside, plenty of bugs come out. Some of these are responsible for an uptick in allergies. In particular, the cockroach is one of the most common non-mold, non-plant allergens — especially in the American South. Cockroach saliva and the body parts they shed trigger allergies in a lot of people, especially when the wind starts to blow them around.

Of course, other critters like bed bugs, dust mites, mosquitoes, and bees (from their stings) can also create allergy issues. Some may be minor, like sneezing and coughing, while others could be life-threatening (bee stings can cause anaphylaxis in some people with bee sting allergies).

3. Humidity

Allergens such as mold and mildew thrive in moist environments. On humid days, these allergens find their way into your home and begin growing in wet areas.  Depending on humidity levels, you could see a colony grow within a day or so. 

Mold and mildew release spores that are harmful to human health. These spores can cause people with mold allergies to experience symptoms similar to pollen allergies — coughing, watery eyes, and so on. For some people with asthma, mold spores can cause airways to tighten when breathed in.

As mentioned previously, dust mites are another allergen, and they love the high humidity because they absorb it through their skin to stay hydrated.

There’s a silver lining to the moist air, though: if you’re allergic to pollen, humid days can help you out. All the moisture weighs pollen down and prevents it from circulating in the air. You might notice your allergies aren’t as bad on rainy or humid spring days. Of course, that means dry days can be awful for those allergic to pollen. Less moisture helps more pollen get into the air and eventually into your respiratory system.

4. Wind

Allergens get around much easier when it’s windy outside. The wind lifts the pollen up and circulates it, so you’ll really feel those allergies if you go out on a windy day — especially if it’s also dry (as mentioned earlier). Same with mold spores, insects, and other potential allergens that can get into your respiratory system.

Wind can also carry other particulate pollutants and even ozone to you as well. This leads to our next factor that could worsen your spring allergies.

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5. Proximity to High-Traffic or Industrial Areas

Vehicles, factories, and similar entities emit various chemicals — such as nitrogen oxide (NO) — into the air in the form of gases. As mentioned, these gases interact with light and heat to turn into ozone. This is bad for your allergies and your health.

Naturally, living in or near areas with vehicles, factories, or coal power plants puts you in more frequent contact with these pollutants and can worsen allergies and respiratory issues. For example, if you live or work near a highway, plenty of cars drive by daily. You’re breathing in the exhaust fumes and their ozone byproducts, even if it isn’t necessarily blatant.

It’s a similar story if you’re in a busy city, like NYC or LA. All those cars emit a lot of exhaust fumes.

Or, perhaps you live or work near (or at) a factory or coal power plant. You’ll be inhaling those pollutants constantly for prolonged periods.

On the contrary, living further away from population centers or the highway could be helpful for some because you’ll have less of those pollutants to deal with. Some studies have shown being near a lot of trees could even help clean the air, but the data is incomplete. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said if you line your home with indoor plants to counteract pollution from vehicles or factories.

Of course, those with pollen allergies will still have to deal with the pollen coming from various plants out in nature. Additionally, if you’re in an area with frequent wildfires, the pollution those fires emit would negate the benefits of being away from population centers or highways.

6. Insufficient Interior Air Filtering

You might live somewhere with fresh, clean air outside, but that doesn’t stop your interior air quality from degrading if you’re not careful. For one, pollen and other allergens can sneak their way into your home via windows, open doors, other household members, pets, and poor insulation, to name a few ways.

Then, there’s mold. Recall that mold thrives in wet and humid environments. The basement is a common area of the home that falls victim to excess moisture, either through humid air making its way in or water damage from heavy rainfall. Mold can then make its way into your house through the same methods as pollen and other allergens, find its way to the humid or wet areas, and grow at an alarming rate. 

It’s the same thing with dust mites, as mentioned before. They enjoy humidity, leading to more dust mites and an accompanying increase in reactions to them.

You may not be able to control the outdoor factors impacting air quality (aside from relocating), but you have much more influence over your home’s interior air. 

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For that, we’d recommend an air purifier with a professional-grade HEPA filter. These air filters can grab up to 99.9% of pollutants out of the air when placed appropriately and cared for, helping to alleviate your allergy symptoms.

Cut down on those annoying allergic reactions by investing in one of our bestselling air purifiers today. 

 

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