High pollen counts problematic for patients with asthma

Rise of allergy-triggered asthma prompts need for DOs to educate patients about ways to treat this chronic condition.


Seasonal allergy sufferers are likely to keep reaching for those tissues, thanks to global warming causing longer allergy seasons and the highest tree pollen counts in Midwest history. With the added risk of allergy-triggered asthma attacks, more education is needed for patients about when to seek immediate medical attention.

“The high pollen days can come as a shock to someone who hasn’t had a history of allergies and asthma,” says Pamela Georgeson, DO, an allergist and immunologist in Chesterfield Township, Michigan.

Triggered by allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust, allergic asthma affects more than 70% of the 25 million Americans with asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

“When intaking patients with asthma, ask if they’ve noticed any changes with their cough,” recommends Joseph Giaimo, DO, an internist and pulmonologist in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “If they’re experiencing more shortness of breath or fatigue after doing activities that didn’t bother them before, it could be a sign of allergic asthma.”

Tips for treating patients with allergic asthma

Your patients can’t avoid pollen exposure. However, the following tips can help you educate them on how to manage their condition:

  • Track peak flow meter numbers and alert you if their numbers fall as asthma symptoms worsen.
  • Advise them to seek emergency treatment if they experience symptoms like persistent cough and wheezing associated with shortness of breath, bluish lips or fingernails, or trouble walking and performing normal activities.
  • Discuss treatment options: steroid inhalers, antibiotics, antihistamines, allergy shots.
  • Consider allergy testing to rule out environmental triggers and improve response to asthma treatment plan.
  • Suggest ways they can reduce allergens in the home: change air conditioning filter every month, remove rugs/carpeting, clean air ducts, keep pets out of the bedroom.
  • Share the AOA’s infographic exploring ways they can control and manage allergic asthma.
  • “We can work with our patients to take care of the issues they face with asthma and improve the overall quality of their lives,” Dr. Giaimo says.


  1. Chase Wilson

    Wow, I didn’t know that asthma and allergies could be bad all year. Winter seems like it could be extremely bad if you are allergic to dust and pets though. Thankfully my house is pretty clean and I am not allergic to pets. Are there ways that I can find out if I have asthma, or allergies? Like taking a test or something. http://www.drtaki.com/index-2-asthma.html

  2. Sam Weaver

    It’s truly sad news that due to global warming, pollen counts continue to increase and it makes it for those suffering in asthma -a longer allergy season. Apparently, my son has allergic asthma. And due to high pollen days, it triggered his immune system and experiences a hard time breathing. As much as possible, I want to treat his allergy and hoping that he will have a normal way of living. Finding a good medical center that caters to the care of asthma patient would really be a good help. https://www.allergyasthmactrs.com/asthma

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