springtime allergy alert: how to cope
April 11, 2022
Spring is finally here! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer. But spring also means seasonal allergies are coming back too. Allergies can cause issues for people with asthma, COPD and those suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19.
What Causes Spring Allergies?
The swelling and secretions caused by histamine production increase airway resistance, coughing and mucous production. The biggest offender is pollen. Springtime brings flowers, grasses and weeds that release pollen as they bloom. Weather changes tend to exacerbate respiratory problems caused by pollen.
Some symptoms of spring allergies include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Itchy sinuses, throat and ear canals
- Ear congestion
- Postnasal drainage
Those symptoms can make breathing more difficult if you have pulmonary issues and may also trigger asthma attacks.
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How to Protect Yourself from Springtime Allergies
Check the outdoor air quality. It’s essential to check the pollen count each day before going outdoors to assess the air quality and determine your precautions. Local news stations usually post pollen counts with their weather forecasts, but you can check online by zip code, which is especially helpful if you’re traveling.
Shut your windows. While a breeze blowing through your home may feel lovely, it also brings in allergens. Use fans and air conditioners instead to keep your home cool without bringing in unwanted pollen, dust and debris.
Invest in a home air filter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control, portable air filters help clean irritants from the air. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is 99.97% effective at capturing airborne matter, including dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Make sure to change the filter according to manufacturers’ recommendations.
Plan lawn and garden maintenance. Your outdoor chores should be scheduled based on the air quality. Early mornings and evenings usually have the lowest pollen count, making them ideal times to garden and mow the lawn. Wear a mask to protect your respiratory system. It’s also important to be aware that many fertilizers and garden maintenance products can trigger breathing issues, so check the labels before use.
Do your laundry regularly. Allergens cling to fabric, so wash your clothes after coming inside to remove pollen and airborne irritants.
Talk to your doctor. Preparing for seasonal allergies and their effect on your breathing will keep you ahead of respiratory issues. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter and prescription drugs to ease your discomfort.
Take your prescribed medications. While limiting exposure to triggers is helpful, it’s difficult to eliminate contact with airborne particles that cause asthma and allergy symptoms. Take your preventive medications as prescribed and keep quick-relief options close at hand.
Pulmonary Rehab at Embassy Healthcare
Embassy Healthcare offers comprehensive pulmonary care at several senior care facilities in Ohio. Our dedicated pulmonary units have 24/7 staff and onsite respiratory therapists who can reduce your risk of re-hospitalization. Our EMPOWER PULMONARY program includes short- and long-term plans to re-establish your highest breathing function.