Asthma and allergies may worsen in summer

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Matthew Sparks has had coughing and wheezing fits since he was three years old.

The 16 year old also deals with difficult allergic episodes during certain times of the year.

"For a while it seemed like every year we'd find a new trigger," said Matthew.

"I'm definitely allergic to cats, pollen also triggers my allergies, dust mites, and I'm somewhat allergic to dogs."

Contrary to popular belief, experts say seasonal allergies and asthma attacks don't only strike in the spring and fall months

"Charlotte is one of those cities where pretty much its ten month allergy season. Because we have the trees in the spring, we have the grass in the summer and then we have the weeds in the fall and as you know we usually have a very short winter."

Allergist and immunologist Dr. Maeve O'Connor's says grass pollens and mold spores are the most common allergy triggers during the summer.

"My asthma tends to flare up when I have allergy triggers and my allergies often flare up when my asthma triggers so they kind of interconnect," said Matthew.

A lot of times allergies are inherited and Dr. O'Connor says there's really nothing you can do to prevent them, but there are ways to minimize their effects.

"There's over the counter medications as well as prescription and then of course there're allergy shots which are very effective in preventing allergies from progressing and also preventing asthma from either occurring or progressing worse than it originally was," said Dr. O'Connor.

She says specific allergy testing is a must.

"Get the appropriate testing done by a board certified allergist immunologist then If you have the knowledge of what your triggers are you can avoid them," said O'Connor.

And avoidance is the key.

"I know what my triggers are and thanks to Dr. O'Conner we've managed to get it under control."

Traditional allergy testing included the skin prick test where the doctor would place an allergen in the skin and look for a reaction.

But now there's new allergy testing where doctors can actually look at particular allergens at a molecular level.

Dr. O'Connor says the results are more detailed helping diagnose patients more appropriately.

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