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Get Ready for Fall Allergies Because They’re Headed Your Way

September 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

A few simple tips will keep you sneeze- and wheeze-free this fall

 

By Sonal R. Patel, MD

 

The arrival of autumn can mean the return to bad allergy symptoms, but there is good news: If you start planning now, your allergy symptoms will likely be much less severe, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty the fall season brings. With a bit of preparation, you won’t get hit as hard with sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes when fall allergies descend with full force. It’s a matter of planning ahead for what you know is coming based on your past experiences.

 

Here are four tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology to help you keep fall allergy symptoms from ruining hayrides and your enjoyment of the changing leaves.

 

  1. Don’t confuse lingering warm temps with summer. The coming of fall doesn’t automatically mean cool weather. Unseasonably warm weather for longer periods of time is no longer a rare occurrence. Mild temperatures along with rain can promote plant and pollen growth, while wind accompanying rainfall can stir pollen and mold into the air, heightening symptoms for fall allergy sufferers. Because fall allergies may start earlier and last longer, it’s important to begin taking your allergy medications at least two weeks before your symptoms normally start. And don’t stop your medications until pollen counts have been down for about two weeks—usually after the first frost. 

 

  1. Beautiful leaves + mold = misery. Those autumn leaves may be gorgeous, but once they’ve fallen, they begin to gather mold. And mold is an allergen that thrives in fall. In addition to leaves, mold can be found anywhere there is water—including in your backyard, in a field of uncut grass, and in clogged gutters. If you are allergic to mold, the key to reducing it is moisture control. Be sure to clear standing water anywhere you find it. You can also help ward off mold by cleaning gutters regularly and keeping your home’s humidity level below 60 percent.

 

  1. Don’t let back to school mean back to allergies. If your child suddenly seems to have a constant runny nose, itchy eyes, a cough, and sneezing, they could be dealing with allergens in their classroom. Kids can be allergic to dust in the classroom, or there might be pollen coming in through open windows. And don’t forget about mold—often found in bathrooms and locker rooms—as well as dander from pets that other kids may bring in on clothing and backpacks. If your child seems to have symptoms that came on around the time school started, make an appointment with an allergist. An allergist can set your child on the right track, for the long term, to handle their allergies or asthma.

 

  1. Dodge pollen to dodge symptoms. Whether it’s ragweed, which is fall’s most prominent pollen, or another type, keeping pollen out of your life means fewer allergy symptoms. Some simple “housekeeping” tips can help. When you come in from outside, make sure pollen doesn’t come with you. Leave your shoes at the door and throw your clothes in the washing machine. Shower and wash your hair in the evening before bed so you’re not sleeping with pollen and getting it on your pillow and in your nose. Keep your windows closed and run the A/C in both your home and your car. Monitor pollen and mold counts online so you can determine when it’s best to stay inside.

 

If allergy symptoms are getting in the way of doing the things you want to do, see an allergist. An allergist can help treat your symptoms and help you get your life on track. For more information about controlling fall allergies and asthma, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org or MyAllergyMD.com. 

 

About the Author: Sonal R. Patel, MD, is a mom of twin daughters and an allergist with Huntington Asthma and Allergy Center in Pasadena, California. She is double board-certified in allergy-clinical immunology and pediatrics. She is the coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Twins, Triplets, and More. You can find her on Twitter @TMommyMD.

Double-Duty Spring Cleaning: Keep Healthy and Tidy

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

 

Seasonal ritual can also help ward off allergy and asthma symptoms

 

By Sonal R. Patel, M.D., M.S.

Spring cleaning can be more than a daunting chore for those with allergies and asthma. Dust, pet hair, and cleaning supplies can leave you reaching for the tissues instead of the broom. But according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), spring cleaning can also help you avoid allergy symptoms.

When pollen counts are high outdoors, you may be inclined to stay indoors to try to avoid allergy symptoms. But seasonal allergy symptoms can last all year round for those allergic to indoor allergens.

Relief can sometimes be as simple as knowing how to remove allergens from your home. Here are some useful tips for banishing allergens in your home, and ways to avoid accidentally letting more in.

Remember that a fresh breeze won’t please. At the first sign of balmy temperatures, you might get the urge to open up your windows to bring in fresh scents. But this can also lead to unwanted pollen particles entering your home and making you sneeze long after your spring cleaning is complete. Before you reach for the air fresheners and candles, be aware that chemicals found in these items can spur asthma attacks. Your best choice is to opt for natural aromas from the oven or to try an organic air freshener.

Rub a dub, scrub. Bathrooms, basements, and areas that are tiled can be especially prone to mold. The key to reducing mold is moisture control. Be sure to use bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water, and completely dry. You can also help ward off mold by keeping your home’s humidity level below 60 percent and cleaning the gutters regularly.

Love your pets, not their dander. After your family pets have spent many days indoors over the winter, chances are the levels of fur, saliva, and dander might be elevated throughout your home. Remove pet allergens by vacuuming frequently and washing upholstery, including your pet’s bed. Also be sure to keep your pets out of the bedroom at all times to ensure you can sleep symptom-free.

Do a whole-house deep cleaning—in stages, if necessary. Cleaning the entire house from top to bottom may take days. But you can get a head start by changing your air filters every three months and using filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Also be sure to vacuum regularly to get rid of dust mites. Use a cyclonic vacuum, which spins dust and dirt away from the floor, or a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Wash bedding and stuffed animals weekly.

Don’t neglect the great outdoors. As the grass turns green and flowers bud, it’s hard to stay indoors and focus on your spring cleaning routine. Still, it’s best to avoid being outdoors when pollen counts are highest (midday and afternoon hours). When mowing and gardening, be sure to wear gloves and an N95 particulate pollen mask (as rated by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH), and take your medication before you go outside. Avoid touching your eyes, and be sure to wash your hands, hair, and clothing when you go back indoors.

Even when you reduce the number of allergens in your home, allergy symptoms can still be bothersome. Those with seasonal and perennial allergies should be under the care of a board-certified allergist, who can identify the source of the suffering and develop a treatment plan to eliminate symptoms.

For more information about seasonal allergies and to locate an allergist, visit Dr. Patel’s Allergy Busters or AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.

 

About the Author
Dr. Patel is a mom of twin daughters and a physician who specializes in pediatric/adult allergy and immunology with Adventist Health Physicians Network. She is also coauthor of the forthcoming Mommy MD Guide to Twins, Triplets, and More.


The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.