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Rain Doesn’t Wash Away Allergy and Asthma Risks

When allergy season is in full swing, many of us hope that a good rain will bring us relief by washing away allergens, like pollen and mold, out of the air. Sadly, this is not necessarily true. New research is emerging that there may be a few people who actually suffer increased symptoms when the rain kicks up into a thunderstorm. Studies show that during thunderstorms there is an increase in visits to the emergency room for asthma related symptoms.

The theories as to what might be the cause of this are varied at this point. Scientists aren’t sure of the exact reason, but here are a few possibilities:

Exact causes of thunderstorm asthma are hard to track down because thunderstorms are usually short lived events. The fact that this is a rare reaction among people makes it even more difficult on researchers who are trying to determine a cause. They do have some ideas as to who might be most susceptible to this rare type of asthma.

Surprisingly, people who are diagnosed and treated asthmatics aren’t as easily affected by thunderstorms. Scientists aren’t really sure why this is, but studies support that most cases of hospital visits due to thunderstorm asthma are previously undiagnosed.

While not being predictable, people with mild allergies or asthma might want to take extra care during thunderstorms. You never know when thunderstorm asthma might cause a reaction.

By Ramie A Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT

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