UA logo Allergy and Asthma in the
Southwestern United States
Information for patients with allergy and related problems
in the Southwest

Seasonal advice, treatment and prevention
Allergy Adviser - Seasonal Update  SUMMER
Limiting Exposure to Allergens in the Home 

Prevention of Allergy and Asthma in Children
Treatment of Allergy and Asthma
Skin Testing and Allergy Injecton Treatment
Inhalers for Asthma

Spacers for Asthma Inhalers
Inhalers for Rhinitis

Tricks for - children to swallow pills
                  - eyedrops
Mexican Medications

Allergy Adviser for Southern Arizona*
Summer
June 21 - September 22      

*and the Greater Phoenix area.  For specific information on weather in the Tucson area  and the Phoenix area  see the National Weather Service site.  Hot weather in the southwestern deserts has two phases - a hot dry spring that feels like summer and usually lasts until approximately June 15 when the  "wet summer" or "monsoon" begins in Southern Arizona and lasts until approximately August 16.

What's Blooming:  Over the next 3 months (particularly June and July), there is much less pollen in the air than there was in the spring.  Most of the pollen is from grass, mainly Bermuda grass.  Some pollen from Hackberry and Privet may appear in July.  After the summer rain has started, weeds including Amaranths (Pigweeds) begin to grow, flower, and release pollen.  Plants that contribute to the pollen count through Summer, in order of prevalence are:
     Grasses
     Sagebrush
     Ragweeds
     Mesquite
     Pine
     Hackberry
     Pigweeds/Russian Thistle,   Saltbush

Mold Spores 

  • Atmospheric mold counts remain low until the monsoon is well advanced in early August.  The counts continue to rise through the end of summer and early fall, but do not reach levels seen in the midwest or southern states.

Outdoor Pollution 

  • Atmospheric ozone levels increase in the summer.  Particulate levels become very high during summer wind storms and blowing dust.

Indoor Environment 

  • Evaporative cooling increases indoor humidity as monsoon weather approaches, favoring growth of indoor mold and proliferation of house dust mites.

Seasonal Disease 

  • Allergic rhinitis is less severe in the summer, due to low pollen counts.
  • Asthma also tends to improve for the same reason and because of low prevalence of mold and fewer viral respiratory infections.  Soon after children go back to school in early September, viral respiratory infections begin and the incidence of asthma attacks increases.

Recommendations 

  • Take your prescribed medications. 
  • Fertilize and water Bermuda grass lawns liberally.  Cut the lawn once a week.  Alternatively, kill your Bermuda grass lawn and install desert landscaping - summer is the best time to do this.  The Arizona Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program can also advise on removal of weeds that grow during the monsoon, an important task for those with pollen allergy.  Phone numbers: Tucson (520) 626-5161, Phoenix (602) 470-8086 ext 323).
  • Stay indoors during windy weather and in the afternoons of air pollution alert days (usually from ozone).
  • Change pads and water once a month during evaporative cooler operation.  Consider installing an automatic water changing system.  If your cooler has a single 4 or 6 inch thick pad, the pad does not need to be changed more often than recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you have refrigerated air conditioning,  consider obtaining an air purifier with a HEPA filter for the bedroom. 
  • Vacations: 
    -     If you will be out of town for 2 weeks or more and are on allergy injection treatment, inform your allergist in advance to arrange for dose adjustments or, in the case of a long vacation, for injections at your destination.
    -    If you have asthma, be sure to take full inhaler canisters with you.    Most patients with moderate or severe persistent asthma will need to take an emergency supply of prednisone tablets with them.   Ask your doctor about this.
  • Anticipate the asthma season that starts when children return to school - be ahead of the curve!   If inhaled antiinflammatory preventive medicines (inhaled steroids) have been prescribed but have been discontinued because of seasonal improvement, be sure that they are taken again regularly from August 1st onwards. 
  • For control of indoor allergens at any time of the year, see Limiting Exposure to Allergens in the Home.
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Disclaimer:   This site is for educational purposes only.  Any information that you have found in this web site is not intended to replace medical care or advice given to you by your own physicians. You should consider consulting your local medical library and other web sites for additional information. 

Comments and suggestions welcome!   Email: schumach@u.arizona.edu
Content Owner:  Michael J. Schumacher, MB, FRACP, The University of Arizona
Updated 6/2013