Is the Current Weather Affecting Your Health?

June 9, 2011; 8:57 AM ET
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As spring begins to give way to summer, this year's weather conditions so far have been responsible for everything from an above-average allergy symptoms to blazing wildfires. But how is the current weather affecting your health?

Allergies

Thanks to a wet spring in the Northeast and Midwest, many allergy sufferers are complaining of the worst season in years.

Hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis, is the most common allergic condition in the U.S., and approximately 35 million Americans are affected by it. Hay fever can also make asthma symptoms worse.

Tree pollen is abundant in early to mid-spring, while grass pollen is more prevalent into summer. The abundance of rain and snow earlier in the year has led to higher pollen concentrations through much of the country.

As Wednesday's AccuWeather.com pollen map shows, tree pollen levels range from moderate to very high over most of the contiguous United States.

Allergies vary from person to person, so even if you're not bothered by spring's tree pollen, summer's grass pollen or fall's ragweed pollen may affect you.

If you're not sure exactly what you're allergic to, you can talk to your doctor about getting an allergy test.

Heat

Many people, especially on our AccuWeather.com Facebook page, are wondering what happened to their spring, as winter jumped right to summer for many areas, as heat waves have hit nearly every corner of the United States.

Most recently, heat has been building in the Midwest, East and Southeast, bringing extreme heat to these areas this week. Major cities along the Eastern Seaboard and in the Midwest are breaking records, some more than 100 years old!

The sudden jump from cold to hot may be welcome for many, but those not yet acclimated to the warmer temperatures run a higher risk of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

Simple steps, from eating properly before going outside to timing your outdoor activities correctly, can prevent you from succumbing to the summer heat.

The heat doesn't just affect your days. Warm, humid nights can take a toll on your sleep schedule, especially if other factors are already affecting your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Most people get a better night's sleep if their bedroom is cool with adequate ventilation.

Fires

It is also wildfire season, and many people from Alaska to Arizona have their neighborhoods polluted with smoke.

We all know that smoke is bad for our health, but a new study provides more information about the hazards to our health. Researchers have discovered a new way to detect isocyanic acid, a chemical found in forest, cooking and cigarette smoke.

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