Spring’s breathtaking beauty

There is no question that as trees and plants burst into bloom each spring it is a thing of beauty. But for some, a spring landscape can be quite literally breathtaking. That’s because outdoor allergens like pollen and mold can trigger an asthma attack.

As trees and plants that were dormant through winter come alive in spring, they release pollen into the air. This airborne pollen is almost impossible to avoid. So if you have allergy-induced asthma, you may want to think twice before spending much time outdoors.

One of the best ways to manage asthma is to be aware of what can trigger an attack. If you know that pollen is a trigger, you should try to limit your time outdoors. So part of your “Asthma Action Plan,” according to National Institutes of Health, could be checking daily pollen counts before planning outdoor activities. One way to do this is by looking at an allergy forecast.

Knowing your triggers can help you better predict (and prevent) an asthma attack. If you haven’t identified your triggers and don’t have a plan in place for managing your asthma, there is an easy way to change that. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) offers members a variety of tools to help manage health. For chronic conditions such as asthma, the Healthy Companion program provides a wide array of timely information, education, and one-on-one support that will help you control—not simply cope with—your asthma.

Spring surveillance

Even though spring’s official start date isn’t until around March 20 each year, spring can come earlier or later, depending on winter temperatures. This year’s mild winter fooled many plants into an earlier-than-usual blooming season in Kansas City. A rainy spring season can also increase allergens, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).

There are also certain climate factors that can make allergy symptoms worse, also triggering your asthma. ACAAI lists these factors:

  • Tree, grass and ragweed pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days.
  • Molds grow quickly in high heat and humidity.
  • Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours.
  • Rain washes pollen away, but pollen counts can soar after rainfall.
  • On a day with no wind, airborne allergies are grounded.
  • When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge.