(Black PR Wire) If you have both asthma and seasonal allergies, there are ways to reduce the impacts of that double whammy, an expert says.
People with asthma, a chronic lung condition, should try to control or prevent allergic outbreaks, says Dr. Miranda Curtiss, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. So what are the best ways to prevent allergic outbreaks? Here’s what Dr. Curtiss suggests:
Nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines are among the easiest and most effective ways to defend against seasonal allergies, she says. Moreover, they’re inexpensive and available over-the-counter or by prescription, Dr. Curtiss adds.
Allergy shots are another option.
“Allergy shots can be helpful for patients with seasonal and year-round allergies,” Curtiss said in a university news release. “However, these are a long-term investment that require planning to continue therapy for three to five years for maximal benefit. Asthmatics who want to start allergy shots need to have their asthma under good control first before starting shots.”
Eliminate indoor allergens
During peak pollen conditions, it’s also important to keep your house or car windows closed and use central air conditioning, she advises.
“Changing your clothes when possible and showering after entering the house can be helpful as well,” Curtiss adds.
Indoor allergens – such as dust mites, molds, cockroaches and pets — tend to be present year-round, but can fluctuate with factors that affect outdoor allergens.
“Because these are perennial, it’s more difficult to notice how much they affect asthma and allergy symptoms, as compared to seasonal allergens, but they can have profound effects on asthma symptoms,” Curtiss adds. “Overall, exposure to allergens seems to make allergic asthmatics more prone to have an exacerbation when they are sick with a viral infection.”
Pay attention to your use of your asthma inhaler
Regular use of asthma inhalers can help asthma patients control their symptoms. “This is the absolute most important way for patients to protect themselves,” Curtiss stresses.
Pay attention to how often you reach for your inhaler, she says.
If you need to use your rescue inhaler more than two times during the day per week or more than two times at night a month, your asthma is not controlled and you should talk to your doctor about boosting your treatment, she adds.
“All asthma patients can protect themselves from severe exacerbations by paying attention to their symptoms each day and seeking help early at the start of a flare, when it’s more likely to respond to treatment,” Curtiss says. “If an asthma patient is using more than one rescue inhaler per month, this is a major red flag and needs an urgent evaluation by a specialist.”