With the new year comes new opportunities for health goals and resolutions. For allergy and asthma sufferers, it's the perfect time to get the wheezing and sneezing under control and commit to better breathing in 2021!
For Allergy Sufferers:
- Know what is triggering your symptoms.
Identifying what triggers your allergy symptoms is the only way to effectively control them. A board-certified allergist will take a complete history and perform testing that will definitively identify your specific allergies.
- Make changes to your home to combat your seasonal allergies this winter.
If you are perpetually stuffy, have itchy eyes, and pressure in your head this time of the year, you might suffer from what is often called “winter allergies.” Because you are indoors more during the colder months (often with little ventilation), you are exposed to indoor allergens like mold, dust mites, and animal dander. Check out our post about combating winter allergies for tips on small changes you can make to help.
- Plan ahead for the spring season.
Spring pollen season is right around the corner. In the south, we can begin to see tree pollens as early as February. Be aware that some allergy medications require you to begin taking them well before the onset of symptoms, so now is the perfect time to see your allergist and discuss the options. For those with year-round or particularly bothersome seasonal allergies, your allergist might prescribe immunotherapy which can permanently modify your allergies, and in some cases, prevent allergy development.
For Asthma Sufferers:
- Identify your asthma triggers.
Just like with allergies, knowing what triggers your symptoms is the first step in controlling your asthma.
- The allergy/asthma connection.
Approximately 80% of children and over 50% of adults have allergies that are a trigger for their asthma symptoms. If you treat your allergies, you will help control your asthma. In December of 2020 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated the National Asthma Guidelines to recommend allergy shots as an extra treatment for people with mild to moderate allergic asthma.
- Avoid smoke!
Giving up cigarettes should top your list for overall health, and especially for healthier lungs. But beware of secondhand smoke as an asthma trigger. A recent study showed children with asthma who are exposed to secondhand smoke had nearly double the risk of being hospitalized than children who aren’t exposed. Additionally, a fire in the hearth is wonderful this time of year – but that smoke can also cause an asthma exacerbation.
- Beware cold temperatures, especially during exercise.
Try not to exercise in a cold room or outdoors during the winter season. Use your inhaler before exercise and during, if needed. Simply breathing cold, dry air with effect asthmatics. Keeping the humidity level in your home between 30 and 50 percent will help minimize asthma symptoms.
- Take care of yourself.
Viruses are more prevalent during the winter months and can also trigger asthma symptoms. Wash your hands often, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and avoid crowded/stuffy places when possible.
- Manage stress.
Emotional anxiety and stress can increase asthma symptoms and cause an attack.
Many people with asthma don't know that allergists are specially trained to treat asthma symptoms. Studies have shown that compared to care by a general practitioner, asthma sufferers getting care from a board-certified allergist have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, higher ratings for the quality of care, fewer restrictions in activities, and improved physical function.
Schedule an appointment to speak with one of our board-certified allergy and asthma specialists. There are 17 Atlanta Allergy & Asthma locations throughout Atlanta and North Georgia.