Perfect Storm for Asthma & Allergies: May 3, 2014

Something is in the air and Chrisy Sutton doesn’t like it one little bit.

“Right up in here,” she gestures to her head and nose. “Just gets all congested anytime I’m outside - in the summer mostly, and fall, especially when the wind’s blowing. Like this.”

Hold on to your hats folks with allergies and asthma. Experts predict pent-up pollen and hot summer-like weather will collide to create a perfect storm. Each individually is known to trigger symptoms.

“Right now it’s environmental,” says Teresa Summe. She is the asthma management coordinator for Lee Memorial Health System.

“Just the warm weather, when you have humidity out there, things are blowing more so a lot of times that's a trigger.”

Asthma and allergies often go hand-in-hand. The same substances can trigger both and cause many of the same issues, including shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. The best thing you can do is be prepared; with asthma in particular because it impacts breathing.

“You’ll see a lot of patients with inhaled steroids and once you get that controlled then you’ll get relief medication to keep the muscle relaxed and that's really the key you don’t want the muscle tightened around the airway all the time because its hard to breath against,” Summe says.

Besides pollen, other common triggers are dust mites, mold, pet dander, air fresheners, perfume and foods. Just the thought of a high impact season is hitting Chrisy where it hurts.

“Yes of course. Because it means that you know it’s going to be more days where you’re stuffy and not feeling up to par,” says Sutton.

So the time is now to see your doctor and make your spring and summer plans.