The phrase “April showers bring May flowers” is often used to describe spring. For individuals with allergies, those May flowers may also bring them a stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, and lots of sneezing. May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month so it’s a great time to brush up on ways to combat those seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms!
Allergies can vary greatly between individuals. Some people have allergies that only worsen during certain times of the year (seasonal allergies), while others have allergies year round (perennial). Examples of common allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, insect stings, and some types of foods (nuts, shellfish, etc.). Depending on the type of allergy and how severe it is, it can cause individuals to have different types of responses. The most severe allergic response is anaphylaxis and it can be life threatening. Everyone who is severely allergic to a substance should carry an epinephrine pen (ex. Epi-Pen) with them in case they are exposed that allergen. Some less severe symptoms can include a rash, headaches, sneezing, runny nose, swelling, nausea, and diarrhea.
When it comes to allergies, it’s important to know your triggers so that the source of the allergies can be determined and exposure can be stopped instead of just fighting to treat the symptoms. Some ways to avoid triggers include: keeping windows and doors shut at home and in the car during allergy season, shower after working or playing outdoors, and watching the news to monitor pollen and mold counts and learn when they are at their highest.
Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, molds, and animal dander’s can actually trigger a person’s asthma. This is one of the reasons that it is so important for an asthma patient to always carry their rescue inhaler with them. Common symptoms of asthma include coughing at night, during exercise or when laughing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. In order to prevent these symptoms, many individuals are on a maintenance inhaler which helps to reduce airway inflammation. Examples of these medications include Advair®, Symbicort®, or Breo Ellipta®. This medication should be taken every day. All asthma patients should also have a rescue inhaler/nebulizer to help give relief quickly, such as Proventil®, ProAir®, or Ventolin®.
If you find that you are using your rescue inhaler more than twice a week to help treat asthma symptoms, your asthma may not be controlled and you should talk to your doctor. This does not include any inhaler use prior to working out as it is recommended for individuals with asthma to use their inhaler before engaging in exercise. Remember, if you ever have any questions your doctor or local pharmacist is just a phone call away!
For more information visit: http://www.acaai.org