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Seasonal Allergies & Asthma

Posted on: 05/01/2011

Did you know?
An allergic response occurs when your immune system treats something harmless, like tree pollen or grass, as a dangerous invader. Your antibodies attack this invader, releasing chemicals that lead directly to allergy signs and symptoms, including nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eye, and skin reactions. If the antibodies sense the invader has entered the lungs and airways, asthma results. Allergies are common—one in every four Americans suffer from them—but they are manageable.

Are you at risk?
You may have seasonal allergies or asthma if you:

  • Have one or more parents who suffered from allergies or asthma
  • Live in a polluted environment or spend time around smokers
  • Suffer from shortness of breath, or have a frequent cough, especially at night
  • Feel tired or weak when exercising
  • Maintain lingering signs of a cold
  • Have difficulty sleeping

Most allergy symptoms are common and can be easily mistaken for a common cold. They include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching in the nose, eyes, throat, ears
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion
  • Sinus pressure
  • Postnasal drip and cough
  • Headache
  • Dark circles under your eyes

What can you do?
The following strategies may help to decrease the occurrence of seasonal allergies:

  • Stay inside during the morning hours when pollen counts are highest.
  • Avoid outside activities during the time of year when the trees, grasses, weeds or molds are blooming.
  • Keep the windows of your house and car closed to keep pollen out.
  • Use an air conditioner to reduce indoor humidity and to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Clean your air conditioner's filters regularly.
  • Consider running an air purifier in your home, especially in your bedroom.
  • Use vacuum cleaners and air conditioners with HEPA filters to trap allergens.
  • Decrease or avoid outdoor activities on hot summer days, when ozone levels may make your symptoms worse.
  • Cover pillows and mattresses with vinyl covers to reduce your exposure to dust mites.
  • Wash bedding weekly in very hot water.
  • Use fewer dust-collecting items, such as curtains, bed skirts, carpeting, and stuffed animals, especially in your bedroom.
  • If you can't avoid having a furry pet, vacuum frequently and keep your pet out of bedrooms and other rooms with carpets.

While the above strategies can be helpful, they’re often not enough. If you still find yourself battling seasonal allergies, schedule an appointment with a Minor & James physician. Our doctors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care of all aspects of adult and pediatric allergy and immunology. Here, you’ll discover ways to manage your symptoms and lead a more comfortable life. And because your symptoms will continue to change over time, consistent visits to your doctor will ensure your treatment is adjusted for best results.

Schedule an appointment with our allergists or otolaryngologists:

Minor & James Allergy                          Minor & James Otolaryngology
206-386-9514                                    206-838-8345

 

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