Spring is in the air. But, so are allergies! Learn more today!
Get ready for a sneeze fest. This month we are talking about National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month.
What is an allergy?
Allergies affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children in the U.S. They occur when the body’s immune system recognizes a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. Reactions can be uncomfortable, mild, or severe. The symptoms range from rashes, sneezing, difficulty breathing or anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is the most dangerous and creates difficulty breathing. For people with severe allergies, an EpiPen must be carried around in case of emergencies. Common allergies include: Latex, nuts, pollen, or insect stings.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects about 25 million Americans. Asthma causes your airways to become swollen or inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. Common asthma triggers include pollen and exercise. To tame these induced symptoms, doctors might prescribe inhalers and outline a treatment plan for each person.
Both asthma and allergies deal with an immune system response, which is why they are often addressed together. We hope you participate in this month and learn a little more about this subject to help you enjoy this spring season sneeze-free!
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is one of the top threats to human health worldwide. In fact, the WHO attributes about 7 million deaths per year to the microscopic pollutants in the air— too small for us to see, but large enough to infiltrate our circulatory and respiratory systems and cause significant damage.
Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can be harmful. Fortunately, there are things we can do to reduce our exposure to each of these.
Minimizing Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution
If you’re doing any activity that can generate fumes or pollutants (such as painting, welding, sanding, paint stripping, or using a gas stove), make sure you’re doing it in a well-ventilated area— or even outside, if you can. To increase ventilation, you can open windows and doors and run a window or attic fan.
Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors. Secondhand tobacco smoke is responsible for many serious health conditions, including lung cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, and severe asthma attacks. Opening a window will not make it any safer.
Reduce fireplace use when possible. Wood burning fireplaces generate much more pollution than gas fireplaces.
Minimizing Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution
Get into the habit of checking the Air Quality Index (AQI) each day. You can easily view this from any weather app on your phone. On days when the AQI is high, you should avoid exercising or spending a lot of time outdoors.
You should also avoid exercising outdoors near any high-traffic areas, regardless of the AQI that day. Car emissions can increase the amount of pollutants in the air locally, and exercising makes it more likely that you’ll breathe the pollutants in.
Perhaps most importantly, you can reduce your personal risk for experiencing the health effects of air pollution by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing any chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, COPD, and heart disease. The Wellness & Stress Clinic is always here to help with this. To make an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!