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Nurse’s Corner

Spring is upon us, so here is some helpful information about allergies and asthma to help minimize allergy & asthma symptoms

Welcome to spring and all the joys it brings. Not only does spring bring April showers, and thus May flowers, but for those who suffer from spring allergies, it can be a time of the year where allergy triggers can be incredibly bothersome and worsen asthma symptoms. Now that winter is over, it would seem that winter allergies would cease as well, not so according to the asthma & allergy experts. Allergies that start in the winter can continue well into the spring & even into the summer, that is why it is so critical to start taking your allergy medicine as early as February 1 or at the latest March 1 to get the medicine built up in your body so when the pollen counts rise, the body already has its arsenal of defenses working. Allergy and Asthma airborne triggers such as pollen, mold spores, pet dander and dust mites can all increase allergen exposure during the spring months. Spring cleaning is one of the best ways to control these allergens and to combat allergy & asthma triggers. Allergies to any of the mentioned allergens can develop at any point in a person’s life, therefore, it is smart to visit a Board Certified Allergist for allergy testing to confirm possible allergy and asthma triggers one might have. Do not forget, spring also brings out the bees, so for those of you who are highly allergic to bee stings and require an epi-pen, please have your epi-pen in hand at all times and make sure you have been properly trained to use it. It could save your life! With knowledge in hand, you can create your own allergen reduction and environmental control plan which will help reduce specific allergy & asthma triggers. Remember allergen control, reduction, and avoidance are cornerstones of  allergy and asthma care.   

Here are some tips that can be helpful in your home to reduce the harmful effects of being exposed to allergens.  

  1. Find a Certified household product list that will help you begin management and reduction of exposure to allergens in your home.
  2. View your home in a room by room basis and identify places where allergens accumulate.
  3. Dust Mite control strategies can help control dust mites which are found in every room of every home, bedding, pillows, and soft goods. Proteins in the eggs and the waste of dust mites are allergy & asthma triggers. Wash bedding routinely as well as rugs and other soft goods in water hotter than 130 degrees to kill dust mites.
  4. Look for Certified allergy & asthma friendly bedding & encasements that are proven barriers to dust mites to help reduce exposure.  
  5. When doing spring cleaning to rid your house of allergens, vacuum routinely and use a Certified allergy & asthma friendly vacuum that has the proven capability to trap allergens and not allow allergens to leak back into the air.  
  6. Wash your pet routinely. Pets may be outdoors more often in the warmer months, and thus, their fur can be carriers of pollen from the outside air into your home.
  7. Also, shower before going to bed at night, this will remove any pollen from your hair and skin that you may have picked up during the day, and will limit your exposure as you sleep.
  8. Although we all love to have our windows open in the warmer weather, it can be an avenue for pollen to come into your home.  

Allergy Symptoms: allergies are characterized by an over-reaction of the immune system to certain substances (allergens) that are inhaled (pollen, dust mites, etc…), eaten (peanuts, shellfish, etc…), injected (bee stings, certain medicines, etc…), or touched (poison ivy). If an allergic reaction is severe, a person may need emergency medical treatment.

Symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itchy nose or throat
  • coughing
  • skin rash/hives
  • throat closing/difficulty breathing/chest tightness
  • drop in blood pressure
  • diarrhea
  • anaphylaxis: a medical emergency

Asthma Symptoms: asthma occurs when airways become blocked temporarily or narrowed by exposure to an allergen. Irritants, strenuous exercise, anxiety, or other triggers can precipitate this. If an asthma attack is severe, a person may need emergency medical treatment.

Symptoms include:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest tightness
  • wheezing/coughing

Always remember it is imperative to prevent, recognize signs & symptoms of, and treat allergies and asthma appropriately.

Here’s to a great spring!

The following documents are for your use.