Are your Allergies Worse when it Rains?

By: Chad M. Lomas, MD

Chad Lomas, MD

Chad M. Lomas, MD

Over the years, I have been asked: Why do my allergy symptoms seem to get worse when it rains? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Shouldn’t my allergies improve when it is raining as the rain is washing away the pollen?

Unfortunately, depending on the severity of the rainfall, rain droplets can actually cause pollen to burst apart into smaller particles increasing the concentration of allergen particles in the air and thus increasing allergy symptoms. This can be particularly troublesome for patients who have both allergic rhinitis and asthma as this can trigger asthma symptoms as well.

allergies rain

There is a particular phenomenon called ‘thunderstorm asthma’ where asthma exacerbations can occur in the hours following a thunderstorm/heavy downpour (highest risk is at the start of the thunderstorm). This occurs secondary to the increased pollen concentration in the air of the smaller particles which can then be inhaled into the lower airways and trigger an asthma exacerbation. Ways that you can mitigate symptoms during a rainstorm is to minimize the amount of time that you spend outside, keeping windows closed, and continuing your allergy and asthma maintenance medication. For patients with asthma who have a history of worsening asthma symptoms during storms, you could consider utilizing 2 puffs of albuterol at the onset of a storm (similar to pretreating prior to exercise).

If you’d like to learn more about your allergies and how to better handle your allergy symptoms, make an appointment with one of our allergists today!

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