We often assume that rainstorms clean the air and clear pollens from the air. Because of that, the assumption is made that people with allergy and asthma will have less trouble during and after storms. However, the opposite is often true.
People with asthma and allergic rhinitis often notice increased symptoms, especially with asthma during and after storms, especially thunderstorms. A possible reason for this is that the pollen grains likely break open during the storms releasing much smaller Allergen particles that can further penetrate our airways. This can lead to so-called “thunderstorm asthma” during times of rain and of course thunderstorm. Even people that have a history of nasal allergies but do not have a known history of asthma may experience “thunderstorm asthma.”
Even though the rain does clear pollution out of the air, storms can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms in people prone to these conditions. It’s important, especially during times of the year where storms are likely, to make sure that control of asthma and allergies are optimized to minimize trouble during storms, or any other factor that can worsen symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy and controller therapies for asthma are typically effective in helping prevent symptoms during storms.
If you have questions or concerns please talk to an allergist or to your primary care doctor.