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Pollen and Mold Levels

The Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center Pollen and Mold Counter will return February 15, 2020.

Posted on: June 01, 2016

by John T. Klimas, M.D. Date: 6/10/2016

We are into the late spring/early summer period with grass pollen and especially high mold counts. While there also is a small amount of other pollen, weeds will really start pollenating in August.

Whether you are taking a weekend getaway or a trip to Europe,  vacations offer a chance to relax and create memories. But for  families with food or inhalant allergies a relaxing break can become a harrowing experience.

Vacation allergy tips:

For  food allergy patients:

  • Pack wipes to clean the airplane table and other surfaces for sensitive kids.
  • On arrival, head to the local health market to pick up produce or foods that you could not bring with you. Ensure that you always have  snacks on hand to avoid hunger meltdowns.
  • Do not get overly hungry. Feed an allergic  child, ahead of time so they are not walking into a situation where there are starving. It is a real bummer when the child is smelling or staring at food they cannot eat when hungry!
  • Use the mini-fridge at the hotel to add food on arrival.
  • Some hotels will supply small appliances or microwaves on request, which extends possible meal options.
  • Many hotels honor requests for special meals, suitable for allergic people or gluten-free diets.
  • Carry an emergency plan for food allergic reactions, have antihistamines and an EpiPen available at all times, and local hospital information.

For allergic people or asthmatics:

  • Choose a smart destination. Where you choose to go can have a huge impact on allergies.  For instance, if you are grass pollen allergic and go to upper Michigan in July  there will be heavy  grass pollen.  Also check air quality in different areas as pollution can affect asthma or allergies.
  • Inspect your hotel. Some hotel rooms are dusty and /or moldy.  Also, if it is an animal friendly, hotel a cat or dog may have stayed in the room before you.
  • Swim carefully. Dramatic changes in temperature, such as jumping into a cold Lake on a hot day, can trigger asthma. Easing into the water will  give your lungs time to adjust.
  • Take your meds first. Most of the time you will be exposed to the same allergens or pollen that you have at home.  Take medications before symptoms actually occur.
  • Blast the air-conditioning. With air-conditioning on and windows closed in hotels or cars, your pollen exposure is cut down by 90% or more.
  • Consider over-packing. If very sensitive to pollen, wash hair before going to bed to prevent all night exposure to pollen on pillow.  Also after a big day outdoors, go back to the hotel, strip down, shower and put on a fresh outfit.