Drought And Allergies

Drought And AllergiesCalifornia’s Continued Drought May Mean Another Tough Allergy Season

Many Californians are used to suffering from some form of allergy throughout most of the year, but during March, April and May, these problems intensify as the trees, grasses and flowers around us release new pollen. While one would assume that less rain means less production in the natural world, and therefore less pollen in the air, in reality, conditions brought on by a drought can actually make allergies worse.

According to an AccuWeather.com article published in 2012:

“Rain clears the air as it comes through the atmosphere,” Dr. Scott Cordray, an ear, nose and throat doctor in Tulsa, Okla., said. “[The water] captures the pollens and takes them to the ground, washing the air if you will.”

Cordray says at his practice, many patients come to him with reactions to cedar pollen, even though there are no cedar trees in the area. His best guess is that the south wind out of Texas blows cedar pollen between 200 and 300 miles into northeastern Oklahoma.

“With drought, you have a lot of wind and it keeps blowing around,” he said. “What most people don’t realize, pollen can travels hundreds of miles. Even if you don’t have certain pollens in your area, they can still travel hundreds of miles in the wind. [Cedar pollen] affects our area significantly.”

The doctor also said that the number of patients coming to him has increased since the drought started in the state. To add to the problem of more pollen, dry air dries out allergy sufferers’ nasal cavities. If a patient takes allergy medication, they can further dry out a patient’s nose, even causing bleeding.

Drought can also extend the warm weather season.

“Dry weather breeds more dry weather,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Meghan Evans said. “When you have dry weather drying out the ground, it reinforces a dry weather pattern. It’s easier [for the sun] to warm the dry ground and an area of high pressure can remain dominant. It’s a cyclical pattern.”

What that means is that dry weather at the end of winter brings warm weather sooner, so spring plant allergens can be a problem early on.

“Drought brings spring sooner and fall later, so you have more pollens in the air because of that as well,” Cordray said.

If you do suffer from seasonal allergies there are options for finding relief. Certainly talking to your doctor about suggested medications designed to relieve symptoms is a great first step. In addition, closing windows on warm spring days, taking a shower after you’ve been out all day and regular removal of allergens from bedding, carpets, clothing and furniture by vacuuming or washing them will also help relieve symptoms.

Springtime allergies and the California drought both seem inevitable, but they don’t have to ruin your life. Visit any Owens Healtcare Locations today and speak with one of our pharmacists about the wide range of allergy medications available.