For many New Yorkers, spring just means warmer weather and beautiful flowers in bloom. However for the 19.1 million adults with hay fever, it also means sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, runny nose, and other irritating symptoms.
Every spring, trees and grasses release pollen grains into the air. These grains are light enough that they can travel in the wind. Flower pollen, on the other hand, is heavier and falls to the ground, and is therefore less likely to cause allergy symptoms. If flower pollen isn’t the cause of your symptoms, what is? Here are a few spring allergy triggers:
Tree Pollen: This includes pollen from tree varieties such as ash, beech, birch, cedar, cottonwood, elm, hickory, juniper, maple, mulberry, oak, pine, poplar, and willow, among others. Pollen can travel in the air for miles, so even if you don’t have trees in your neighborhood, their pollen can still affect you.
Grass Pollen: The grass pollens that can trigger the symptoms of spring allergies include Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, rye grass, and orchard grass, among others. Typically in NYC, grass pollens make their way into the environment towards the end of the spring, and become the more predominant pollen in the summer.
Are you prepared to deal with spring allergies this year? Here are a few tips from Hudson Allergy on avoiding exposure to allergens and managing your symptoms:
Know when allergy season starts. Spring allergy season can begin as early as February if the weather is warm enough. Don’t wait until the middle of April to begin thinking about how to treat your symptoms. Make an appointment with your allergist and start treating spring allergy symptoms before they start.
See what’s in the air. Download a pollen tracker app. This app will help you keep track of pollen levels in New York and let you see what times of day are best for outdoor activities.
Limit your time outdoors. Staying inside on days with high pollen counts can help you avoid your allergy triggers. Unfortunately, this may mean avoiding some of your daily activities or turning down a few invitations to backyard BBQs.
Be aware of cross-reactions. Cross-reactivity happens when proteins in one substance are similar to proteins in another. For example, if you are allergic to birch pollen, you may also have a reaction to apples. Such a reaction is known as oral allergy syndrome.
Make time for spring cleaning. Regularly cleaning and vacuuming your home can help you eliminate allergens from your living space. You’ll want to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap symptom-causing particles. In addition to cleaning, you can also make a few other changes to your home, such as keeping windows shut and using an air conditioner to keep cool.
Are you ready to deal with spring allergies? Our month-to-month guide helps you understand what might be triggering your symptoms during different times of the year. Don’t wait until symptoms are making you miserable to do something.
If you have any questions about managing your spring allergies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the weather warms up, New Yorkers are shrugging off their heavy winter coats and slipping on shorts and sundresses. The sunshine will also bring one of the cornerstones of summer: backyard barbecues. Whether you’re planning to attend a small get-together with friends or a big block party, you might be concerned about how to balance your allergies with your good time.
The last thing our patients want to do at a party is worry about their allergies. An allergic reaction can be triggered by some unexpected items, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize allergy triggers that may be present at your next BBQ. Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe (and fun) time:
- Talk to the host.
Your first line of defense for safely enjoying your BBQ is to talk with the host to let them know about your allergy and get relevant details about where the party is being held and what types of food will be served. The host may take extra precautions when preparing foods or ask for suggestions of dishes that would be safe to serve. If possible, you can offer to prepare a few allergy-friendly side dishes to bring along to the party or let the host know you will be bringing safe snacks for yourself.
- Come prepared.
In addition to bringing along safe snacks, you should also consider bringing along items that will help make you more comfortable or help you deal with possible environmental allergens. (If you have a gluten intolerance, this might even include bringing along gluten-free beer. Click here for five of our favorite gluten-free beers.) For example, if you’ll be sitting on the grass (and therefore directly exposed to grass and other pollens), bring along a blanket to sit on.You’ll also want to wear closed-toe shoes while in the yard to avoid insect stings, and don’t drink out of a soft drink can that has been left unattended – the soda could have attracted bees or other insects.
- Know where allergens hide.
Anyone with a food allergy will be very familiar with the need to read and understand food labels. This vigilance will come in handy at a barbecue or picnic, where allergens may lurk in a variety of places.
Here are some places you might encounter allergens at your next BBQ:
We recommend using caution when eating homemade foods and desserts that you did not witness being prepared. Always verify ingredients whenever possible. The best way to avoid an allergic reaction at a party is to be aware of your surroundings and be able to recognize the common triggers of your allergy. When in doubt, say a polite “no thank you” and skip the food you’re unsure of.
Sauces and Spices
Barbecue sauce can be a hidden source of peanuts and tree nuts. It may also contain a fish product that may trigger an allergic reaction in some people. You will also want to read the ingredient labels of any spice rubs, marinades, or other seasonings that your host may have used to flavor the food.
Smoke from a barbecue may irritate your eyes or throat, but did you know it could also bring on an allergic reaction? Wood commonly used in barbecue (mesquite, oak, cedar and hickory) can contain pollen proteins that some people are allergic to. These allergens can remain in the smoke even after the wood is burned, and may even transfer to your food or cause oral allergy syndrome (OAS). The symptoms of OAS include a scratchy throat and itchy mouth as well as swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth, and throat.
The grill your host is using could have been exposed to allergens in the past, or even earlier in the day. Remember: an allergic reaction is still possible even if the grill has been scraped. It will take a much more thorough cleaning to remove all traces of an allergen. If you are not able to clean the grill, ask that your food be wrapped in aluminum fool while cooking to avoid direct exposure to the grill, or use a disposable grilling tray.
People with allergies may need to take a few extra precautions when attending a barbecue, but it is possible for everyone to enjoy a fun summer outdoors.
If you suspect you have a food or seasonal allergy and want to be tested or have questions about other resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at email@example.com.
Deciding if you are experiencing an allergic reaction and need to get tested for allergies can be tricky. In peak allergy season, many of our patients commonly think that they have a cold or the flu before realizing their symptoms were a result of having allergies.
Do you have allergies?
With ragweed season quickly approaching, we thought we’d let you in on some tips straight from our experts, Dr. Julie Kuriakose and Dr. Tim Mainardi.
Check out our Q & A to see if it’s time to see your allergist:
Q: What’s the most common reason it takes people so long to actually get tested for allergies?
Dr. Mainardi: Many people think that because they have never had a history of allergies before they are immune to all allergies, and many people do not know that you can develop an allergy at any time. So even if you got tested when you were very little, it’s probably wise to get tested again later in life.
Q: You can really develop an allergy at any point in your life?
Dr. Kuriakose: Yes, you absolutely can. We see it a lot in patients who have recently moved to New York City and are suddenly exposed to a variety of new environmental allergens. Pollution, changes in the food we eat, even changes in how we are exposed to food allergens may all be factors in developing allergies.
Q: What are the main differences between cold symptoms and seasonal allergy symptoms?
Dr. Mainardi: It really depends, but if your “cold” is lasting longer than seven to ten days and doesn’t seem to be subsiding with over the counter meds, you are going to want to see a doctor no matter what.
Q: Any signs to look for at the onset of new symptoms?
Dr. Kuriakose: Usually allergy sufferers experience nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes as their main symptoms, along with a scratchy throat.
Q: Is there a rule of thumb for determining when it could be something like the flu verses allergies?
Dr. Mainardi: It really just depends on what each individual is allergic to, however, there are always peak allergy seasons based on your location when you should stop and ask yourself: “Do you have allergies?”. People allergic to tree pollen, for example, will usually experience the worst reactions in spring or fall when the flu is less common, so sometimes time of year can offer a small hint as to what the real problem is. Certainly the presence of a fever is more suggestive of an infection and not something you would typically see in an allergic reaction.
Think you might be experiencing allergy symptoms? Come in to get tested today.
We’re experts who care, on your schedule, around the corner. Just walk in.