Controlling Allergies and Asthma

Many people with asthma also have allergies. Allergies can happen during certain seasons of the year and the allergy season usually begins with spring time.

Fresh cut grass and pollen from blooming flowers and trees are typical allergy triggers in spring. Common allergy symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, and itchy watery eyes.

For people with asthma, allergies can also cause their asthma to flare up. It is important to talk with your Health Care Provider about how to treat allergy symptoms when they happen and how to prevent them from coming back.

Non-prescription allergy medications like, Claritin®, Zyrtec®, and Allegra®, are known as “antihistamines”. They are often the first choice to relieve annoying allergy symptoms. You can save money by purchasing the generic forms of these brands.

If antihistamines don’t work, steroid nasal sprays like Flonase®, Nasacort® and Rhinocort® can be effective. A few steroid nasal sprays are now available without a prescription.

As with any medication, always ask your Health Care Provider if allergy medications are safe for you to take.

Here are 10 tips to keep your allergies in check:

1. Keep your windows closed, especially at night. This will keep outside pollen, dust, and other things in the air form entering your house.

2. Check the furnace filter once a month and change it when it looks dirty.

3. If you own a pet with hair or fur and have pet allergies, keep your pet out of the bedroom. Pet dander on bed sheets and pillows can cause allergy symptoms like nighttime coughing, stuffy nose and congestion.

4. Check the pollen forecast. Go to Just like a weather forecast tells you how to prepare for the weather, a pollen count forecast can help you decide if you should limit outdoor activity if the pollen count is expected to be high.

5. If you have a dust allergy, damp dust and use a vacuum with HEPA filter once a week to prevent dust build up on carpets and fabric covered furniture.

6. Keep bathrooms and basements dry to prevent mold. Mold is a potent allergy and asthma trigger.

7. Potted live plants have mold in the dirt. Spread aquarium gravel over the top of the dirt to contain mold.

8. Remove clutter, tabletop ornaments, collectibles, books and magazines that are “dust catchers” and store toys and games in plastic bins.

9. Control cockroaches and mice with cheap traps from the store. Wash and put away all dishes and do not leave food out in bedrooms, living rooms or the kitchen for pests to get to.

10. If your allergies happen all year long and affect your asthma a lot, ask your Health Care Provider about going to an allergy specialist.

By managing your allergies properly, you can keep your asthma in good control and enjoy the nice weather too.

Post by Dan Wilson, RRT, CPFT, AE-C

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