Allercy and Asthma Health
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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Five Things To Improve Your Comfort This Allergy Season

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by Anne Geistkemper, MS-RC, RRT

Allergies are a fact of life for many people. Fortunately, you do not have to suffer through allergy season. Try the following tips to suppress your allergies and improve your breathing.

Take your medication early

Histamine blockers work best before you are exposed to allergy triggers. Also, inhaled corticosteroids take up to six weeks before they fully suppress inflammation in the airways, which is important for those who have asthma. Start your allergy medication before the allergy season begins or as soon as things start to turn green to control your allergies and obtain good asthma control.

If you have specific allergies to grass or trees, take your medication before you enter those environments (i.e. soccer games, hiking). Researchers say allergy symptoms peak in the morning hours. Get into the habit of taking your medication before bed to allow the medication time to circulate in your body before you wake.

Careful eating fruits and vegetables

While fruits and vegetables are an important part of everyday diets, they can be troublesome for those with allergies. People with seasonal allergies can suffer from pollen food allergy syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome.

This means that certain seasonal allergies are associated with particular fruit and/or vegetable allergies. Not all fruits and vegetables cause problems, but when they do, these allergies may cause your lips to swell or your mouth to itch. Sometimes a more severe reaction results as well. If you have food allergies, talk to your doctor about getting an epinephrine auto-injector such as an EpiPen® or Auvi-Q™.

Use the air conditioner

Spring air refreshes people after a hard winter. However, pollen can settle into your carpet, curtains, and furniture and cause problems for you indoors too. Keep the windows closed and turn on the air conditioning if you have seasonal allergy triggers. Indoor air quality matters for those with allergies and asthma. Eliminate mold, mildew, bacteria, smoke, dander, and dust mites from your home to improve your breathing.

Keep clean

Some simple cleaning measures can help you remove as many allergic triggers as possible from your home or workplace. Remember to change your furnace filter at least every three months. Areas that get a lot of foot traffic should be vacuumed at least twice a week to get rid of dirt, dust, and dander. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to remove the tiniest particles.

Washing your bedding in hot water and cleaning the kitchen sponges each week can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms as well. Bed sheets collect dead skin cells, sweat, and oils. Kitchen sponges are great homes for bacteria to live.

Kick bad habits, adopt good ones

Allergy and asthma sufferers may be more sensitive to cigarette smoke. Secondhand smoke remains in the air and thirdhand smoke (defined as residual nicotine and other chemicals left behind by tobacco smoke) is absorbed in clothing. Alcohol intake can also affect allergy sufferers because the bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce histamines.

Minimizing stress and maximizing sleep are two other habits to adopt. Researchers say stress hormones may stimulate the production of IgE and cause more issues for allergy sufferers.

Anne Geistkemper is an AARC member from Illinois who curently serves as a neonatal/pediatric respiratory therapist at Rush Univeristy Medical Center in Chicago.

Reference

Are You Making Your Spring Allergies Worse? Five Things that Can Aggravate Your Suffering. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Retrieved from http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/586150/?sc=mwtr&xy=5013137.

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