asthma

5 Easy Ways to Beat Allergies This Season

April 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm , by

Itchy, watery eyes, sniffles, sore throat. Sound familiar? Yup, it’s allergy season. I thought I somehow escaped it this time around, but I’ve spent the past week sneezing nonstop. And according to my Facebook feed, I’m not alone: “Allergies are really kicking my butt today,” one friend harped.

It doesn’t help that experts are expecting an especially tough spring for allergies this year, thanks to a slew of bad storms and a longer growing season. But there are plenty of things you can do to avoid annoying symptoms. Here are a few easy tips for staying one step ahead this spring.

Take meds as soon as you wake up.
The pollen count is highest in the morning, and symptoms will only get worse if you don’t keep ahead of them. If you can, avoid going on walks or heading outside in the early hours of the day, and don’t forget to take an antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra as soon as you wake up.

Don’t stop at antihistamines.
Nasal sprays and neti pots can also help once symptoms get started, says Reed Erickson, M.D., the medical director of MedExpress. Prescription steroid sprays like Flonase can help reduce inflammation. Neti pots, which you fill with warm water and saline, can help flush out pollen and congestion, while soothing your sinuses.

Keep your windows closed.
You may feel tempted to let in all that fresh springtime air after a long winter. But don’t: you’ll just be letting allergens in, says Kevin Ronneberg, M.D., the associate medical director of Target. Another thing you can do, especially if you have itchy eyes, is skip your contacts or wear sunglasses when you have to venture outside, he adds.

Know your triggers.
“The best way to treat allergies is to avoid them,” says Dr. Ronneberg. While it may feel like you’re allergic to everything sometimes, it can help to know about your specific triggers so you can track them. If you don’t know what you’re allergic to, make an appointment with your doctor to get tested. The ACAAI is also hosting free allergy screenings across the country in May.

Get the App.
WebMD and Accuweather just released a new iPhone app that allows you to get daily weather forecasts and check allergen levels for pollen, trees and dust. Just input your location and it will give a three-day forecast, along with tips and tons of useful info. I tried it and loved that I could learn when pollen counts were high in my area.

Photo by zirconicusso, shutterstock.com


Carter Oosterhouse: Making Homes Asthma-Healthy

June 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm , by

Did you know that many things inside your home can trigger asthma attacks? Common allergens, such as dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen, as well as irritants like smoke and VOCs in paint and adhesives all cause problems for asthma sufferers. Luckily there are ways to make your home more asthma-healthy, and there’s a new campaign called Build Smart, Breath Easier that’s working with HGTV host and carpenter Carter Oosterhouse (that’s him at left) and Habitat for Humanity in order to raise awareness.

I sat down with Carter and Dr. Reynold Panettieri a few weeks ago to learn more about the program and what homeowners can do to improve their own indoor air quality. Carter is working with Habitat to design four asthma-healthy homes around the country for families affected by the disease. The first house, being built in Detroit for a family of four, recently kicked off construction. Homes in Philadelphia, Georgia, and Los Angeles will follow. Read more


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