Summer Allergies

The summer months come with beautiful flowers, warm weather, and longer days. They also bring the onset of summer allergies.

There are many causes of summer allergies. Some of which include:

  • Ragweed (the most common allergy trigger)
  • Grasses
  • Trees
  • Smog
  • Air pollution
  • Insect bites
  • Mold
  • Dust mites

Summer allergy symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under your eyes.

Some ways you can reduce your exposure to allergy triggers include:

  • Staying indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Avoiding garden chores like mowing the lawn and pulling weeds that stir up allergens.
  • Removing clothes worn outside and showering to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Avoid hanging laundry outside because pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wearing a face mask when doing chores outside.
  • Checking your local TV news station or the internet for pollen forecasts and the current pollen levels.
  • Taking allergy medication before symptoms start or if high pollen counts are forecasted.
  • Closing doors and windows at night when there are high pollen counts.
  • Avoiding outdoor activity when pollen counts are highest.

There isn’t a miracle product that can get rid of all allergens from the air in your home, but ways to keep indoor air clean include:

  • Using air conditioning in your house.
  • Using high-efficiency filters if you have a forced air conditioning or heating system, and following regular maintenance schedules.
  • Keeping indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Using a portable HEPA filter in your bedroom.
  • Cleaning floors with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter regularly.

Here are some over-the-counter medications that can help ease allergy symptoms:

  • Oral antihistamines
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays
  • Cromolyn sodium nasal spray
  • Oral decongestants

You can receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for seasonal allergies at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dust Mites & How They Affect Our Health

allergies and dust mites

Dust mites are tiny, microscopic relatives of spiders and ticks that lurk around our homes.  They feed on the dead skin cells that we shed.  Due to their diet, dust mites are commonly found in the areas where dust and dead skin cells accumulate the most. This includes carpets, mattresses, bedding, curtains, stuffed animals and furniture.

Dust mites are allergenic- meaning materials from their skin and fecal matter can cause allergic reactions and symptoms, especially in people with allergies and asthma.

Common dust mite allergy symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Coughing
  • Red, Itchy skin
  • Itchy, red or watery  eyes

In people with asthma, symptoms can include:

  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

It is impossible to completely eliminate dust mites, even in the cleanest homes.  However, there are ways to limit exposure and reduce the risk of symptoms. Here are a few:

  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water
  • Cover mattresses and pillows in zippered dust-proof covers
  • Dust regularly
  • Avoid carpeting if possible or vacuum frequently
  • Use certified allergen capturing filters in vacuums and air conditioners
  • Keep the humidity levels in your home under 50% (Dust mites thrive in environments with humidity levels of 70 to 80%)

If symptoms persist, relief can be achieved by taking over-the-counter or prescription decongestants, antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids.  Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots or sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets can also be effective. 

The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Jamaica Hospital focuses on the diagnosis and long-term treatment of allergic and immunologic conditions. To schedule an appointment with an allergist, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.