For some an allergy mask is a year round accessory while for others the need typically arises during the spring and fall. Though the spike in pollen during these two seasons often means asthma and allergy sufferers use a mask, the summers can present some unique situations where masks would be helpful.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
- Pollen - While the pollen types and volumes are generally less than during the springs months, plants like sumac and thistle produce pollen throughout the summer. For many allergy and asthma sufferers, fresh cut grass can be a continuing source of irritation during this time. And because people typically spend more of the summer outdoors than any other season, exposure to pollen can be greater than during peak pollen months.
- Emissions Pollution - Traffic in many areas of the country can increase or decrease seasonally, but no matter where you are the warmer temperatures mean that any pollution in the air more readily forms ground level ozone. So whether it is vehicle exhaust or emissions from factories, the formation of the lung irritant ozone is much more common during the summer than in any other season. Ground level ozone is the primary reason why you see so many air quality warnings throughout the summer. Additionally, though these conditions usually affect urban centers, some of the highest levels of ground level ozone are recorded in rural areas. As the air and air pollution moves, geography like mountains and valley create natural collection points where pollution from urban areas can settle and build. Much like water, air has a natural flow that allows for it to pool and form pockets far from the original source.
- Wildfires - Every year wildfires plague sections of the western U.S. The soot, ash, and chemicals carried in wildfire smoke can be particularly troubling for those with asthma and other respiratory conditions like COPD. Drought conditions exacerbate this and can make areas where wildfires are usually not a concern, a serious problem. Even those who aren't directly affected by the fire can be affected by the smoke.
- Special Summer Events - Though the vast majority of people will not be attending Burning Man, many people will be attending summer music festivals and concerts across the country. Though Burning Man requires a mask prior to being admitted, most do not. If you do plan on spending time in areas where campfires are going to be abundant, it's never a bad idea to bring a mask along.
Author: Kevin Gilmore