3/30/2022: Fourth Booster Information + Relationship Between Climate and Allergies

//3/30/2022: Fourth Booster Information + Relationship Between Climate and Allergies
3/30/2022: Fourth Booster Information + Relationship Between Climate and Allergies 2022-03-31T11:20:23-08:00

March 30, 2022

Should you get another COVID booster? Consider these factors.

Age 50+ and newly eligible for a 2nd COVID vaccine booster (ie, 4+ months out from your initial booster)? Even though the science supporting a 4th dose is incomplete, we’re trusting the FDA/CDC/DOH on this one, that benefit/harm likely favors 2nd booster for age 50+. Seattle Times covers the decision quite well in this balanced article: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/should-you-get-another-covid-booster-consider-these-factors/. The opinions quoted include some very-trusted guidepost physicians/scientists like Bob Wachter, Marion Pepper (UW go-to immunologist) and Paul Offit.The only statements that seemed iffy to us were a couple that implied a booster’s immunity may only last a handful of months. That statement seems to reflect the observation of the vaccine-derived antibody titer rising and falling, but meanwhile the immunologists seem to continually reassure us that immunity derived from vaccine or infection is more multi-pronged and longer lasting than what is suggested by the simple rise and fall of a particular antibody titer.

Let us know if you want us to schedule you for a Moderna booster here in clinic (would be on a Thursday). Otherwise, most pharmacies carry both Pfizer and Moderna.

Allergies and Climate Change:

With many of us experiencing seasonal allergies I thought it was a good time to dive into what the relationship is between climate change and allergies, and what we can do about it!

Climate change:

Fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) increase the level of carbon dioxide in the air which leads to increasingly warmer temperatures and changing weather patterns. Warmer temperatures increase plant pollen production (faster growth, flowers earlier, greater biomass). Our immune systems can overreact to pollen in the air causing symptoms that most of us are familiar with: sneezing, itching, cough, congestion. As the earth’s temperature rises, we will see lengthier and more severe allergy seasons.

This can be an overwhelming realization, but there are strategies we can all take that will decrease the health impacts of climate change and improve seasonal allergies!

How to improve your seasonal allergy symptoms:

1.)   Monitor pollen and mold counts by checking weather reports: https://weather.com/forecast/allergy/l/Seattle+WA?canonicalCityId=0795df0bbf6ddfe58c10abd8ce5ed2a901e48b13b3ee35d10cb229baff15ed15

In Seattle, tree pollen is most prevalent in the spring.  Grass allergy season starts in April and peaks around May-June. Weed allergies begin in late summer.

This resource provided by the NW Asthma & Allergy Center shows what tree, grass, and weed pollen is highest: https://www.nwasthma.com/pollen-count/. Today you can blame your allergies on Cedar and Juniper trees.

2.)   Keep windows and doors shut at home and car windows rolled up when pollen counts are elevated. You can also wear a KN95/ N95 mask if you want to be outside and pollen levels are elevated.

3.)   Take a shower and wash your hair after being outside when pollen counts are elevated.

4.)   Here is a list of some of the medications that people use for allergies:

– Oral Antihistamines: Claritin, Zrytec, Allegra
– Nasal Corticosteroids: Flonase
– Alternatives: Saline nasal spray used to improve congestion (use prior to other nasal sprays).

Climate mitigation strategies:

1.)   If you are struggling to identify what you can personally do in your life to mitigate the impacts of climate change, I recommend checking out this resource: https://youchangeearth.org/

You Change Earth allows you to personalize your actions depending on your age and lifestyle. You can choose from actions that you can do in your spare time, quick actions that don’t take much time, or actions that take a lifetime.

2.)   If you want to watch and see what your actions can do to change the earth’s temperature, I recommend checking out this resource that shows you the impact your actions can have: https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?v=22.3.0

Wishing you improved allergy symptoms. As always, reach out with any questions.

Ali Gibbs, FNP student