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How Arizona Winter’s Strong El Niño Will Affect Your Allergies in 2016

Arizona Allergy Problems and Treatment for El Nino

Do you remember the strong El Niño of 1997-98? The Phoenix Valley and much of Arizona experienced a wet late winter. This year’s El Niño is at least as strong or possibly even stronger than the one in 1997-98, a fact that seems to be borne out by strong storms hitting the California coast and making their way over the mountains to Arizona. Not only will the tempest be in the skies, it will also be in the nasal passages and lungs of local allergy sufferers.

Already we’re seeing an uptick in the number of people visiting our Valley-wide allergy and asthma clinics. That’s because the wet conditions typical of an El Niño winter and spring in Arizona are ideal for producing mold spores followed by pollen as trees and desert plants begin awakening from their short winter slumber. Even if your allergies are mild, you will likely experience increased symptoms over the next few months.

For some patients, the strength of their symptoms can become severe, leading to respiratory distress and hospitalization. Become proactive and visit us before your symptoms become too severe. Ignoring strong allergy symptoms can lead to nasal and ear infections and to respiratory problems such as bronchitis in addition to severe asthma.

Unfortunately, many Arizonans can expect severe symptoms for several months. Due to our high levels of rain since last fall,  the desert will come alive with blooming plants, meaning the air will be saturated with more pollen than normal until the summer burns it off.

In addition to immunotherapy and taking medications before you head outside, you can do several things to lessen symptom severity. Keep doors and windows closed and make sure that air conditioning filters are changed frequently. Set your ventilation system in your car to recirculate cabin air so additional allergens aren’t pulled in.

Pollen levels tend to be highest in the morning and dissipate as the day goes on. Avoid hiking and wear a mask if you are going to do any gardening. Shower when you come in to wash off pollen.

If your symptoms seem to spiral out of control, consider getting additional allergy testing. You may have developed additional sensitivities, but the only way to know definitively is to come into our office and be tested. Please contact our office today or online appointment setter  today to schedule an appointment with our Allergy physician today!

 

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Arizona Seasonal Allergies or is it Cold? How to tell the difference

Seasonal allergies vs regular cold

Seasonal Allergies VS Cold

Seasonal allergies and colds often share the same symptoms. This makes it difficult to tell one from the other. Shared symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. However, a cold can also include symptoms such as coughing and a sore throat. Seasonal allergies can also cause itchy eyes which is not a common symptom of colds. With such similar symptoms, it is hard for people to determine the difference between a cold and an allergy. The below are signs to consider when you are having trouble telling the difference.

Winter, Spring, Summer, of Fall?

One way to tell the difference between an allergy and a cold is by the time of year. Colds occur after exposure to a virus and they are more likely to develop in the winter. Allergies occur after exposure to pollen and tend to develop in the spring, summer, or fall. If you have symptoms at the same time each year, you are likely suffering from allergies rather than a cold.

Nasal Discharge

The color of your nasal discharge is also a factor in deciphering between an allergy and a cold. If the color of your mucus is green or yellow, it is a sign of a cold. Allergies also produce nasal discharge but the mucus is usually clear in color.

Running a Fever

Cold sufferers often deal with running a fever or having muscle aches. Seasonal allergies don’t typically cause fever or muscle aches.

Duration

Another way to tell the difference between an allergy and a cold is by how long you have symptoms. Colds can last as long as two weeks. Allergies, on the other hand, can last a lot longer, depending on the length of pollen exposure.

Hopefully, these signs will help the next time you are experiencing allergy or cold symptoms. If you suspect you are experiencing allergies, consult with one of our allergy specialists.  At Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. we can provide diagnosis, treatment, and management for all types of allergies. Call us now for an appointment at 602-242-4592!

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Pollen Count and Allergic Reactions: Treatments from Phoenix Allergist

Unless you’re severely allergic to something and ingesting it could harm you, allergies are mostly non-life threatening. But even so, mucus-filled sinuses and teary eyes are enough to get you feeling sluggish and unwilling to do anything but hold a tissue box and wait for it to pass.

There are many sources of allergies like food, some types of medicine, and things like dust and animal hair. Among the common allergens that get a lot of folks temporarily bedridden for days is pollen, which are tiny particles that plants use to fertilize each other. In fact, allergy to pollen is so common that there are various websites and news resources that keep track of pollen count, which is a numerical value assigned to describe how much pollen there could be outdoors at a given time.

According to HowStuffWorks.com writer Karen Serrano, MD:

Pollen CountWhen you hear or read about the daily pollen or mold count, it’s yesterday’s count. It represents the pollen or mold samples taken during the previous 24 hours. Pollen and mold counts are usually reported as low, moderate, high, or very high. These represent your risk of developing allergy symptoms. So if the pollen count is high, you have a high chance of having symptoms if you’re allergic to pollen.

Furthermore:

Generally, the higher the count for your allergens, the greater your risk of developing allergy symptoms if you’re exposed. However, it isn’t absolute. Your allergy symptoms may also be affected by recent exposure to other allergens, the intensity of the exposure, and how allergic you are to the various allergens.

Allergic reactions, like stuffy noses, itchy skin, and swelling are actually caused by your immune system going temporarily haywire. When particles (mostly protein) from certain things like pollen, seafood, or medicines get into the body, the immune system tries to wipe them clean, but in the process of doing so, they release too much histamine, which causes various reactions. Although staying indoors can help reduce the symptoms, finding an allergist in Phoenix can help you find treatment to reduce the reaction.

Before finding treatment, an allergist first has to determine what you’re allergic to through different kinds of testing. Then, he can work with an immunologist in Phoenix labs or clinics like the Adult &Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. to come up with an effective treatment that will solve your allergic overreaction.

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