Tips To Survive Spring Allergy Season

In some parts of the country, spring allergy season starts as early as February and can last through the summer months. Tree pollen is the first sign of allergy season’s arrival and continues to cause allergy symptoms throughout March and April. Tree pollen and grass pollen are one and the same, beginning in late spring and continuing into early summer.

Allergies are the result of an over-reactive immune system. When allergies occur, the immune system mistakenly identifies an allergen such as pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust mites as an “invader.” As a reaction, the body mounts an inappropriate immune response. To get rid of the “invader,” the immune response triggers a response that results in you experiencing typical allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.

People are affected by all kinds of allergens. Some people need to avoid pollen and dust; others can’t be around dogs or cats. Regardless of what sets your allergies off, symptoms can interfere with daily activities and reduce your quality of life. Here are a few suggestions to lessen the severity of your allergies:

  1. Leave your shoes at the door- When you come home from the outside, taking your shoes off at the door lessens the amount of pollen you track into the house. Wipe down your dog’s coat before he comes into the house, too, because pollen clings to fur.
  1. Change your clothes when you get home- You can bring pollen into your home on your clothes and shoes even if you can’t see it. Toss soiled clothes in the hamper immediately; even better, take a shower.
  1. Clean or change the filters in your air conditioner- Change them at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer, or more frequently if it seems to help.
  1. Keep open windows closed- Open windows can be refreshing, but they let in pollen. Close windows and outside doors, especially on high-pollen days, and turn on the heat or the air-conditioning.
  1. Take allergy medicine at night.- If your doctor suggests or prescribes allergy medicine try taking them at night. Typically, allergy symptoms tend to be at their worst in the morning.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Fall Allergies

Ever ask yourself, “Why are my allergies kicking up, it’s not spring or summer?”  The answer may be that if you are a warmer weather allergy sufferer, you will most likely be sensitive to allergens in the fall too.

While the fall season signals the beginning of cooler temperatures, it can be especially difficult for those who are sensitive to mold and ragweed pollen. If you are one of these people, symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and headaches can reoccur leaving you feeling miserable.

There are several things you can do to find relief. If symptoms are mild, try the following suggestions which may provide temporary relief:

  • Closing windows and doors at night or whenever ragweed counts are high
  • Trying over the counter remedies such as decongestants or antihistamines
  • Rinsing your eyes with a saline solution
  • Trying nasal irrigation
  • Taking steamy showers
  • Wearing a mask while doing yard work
  • Washing clothes and linens frequently
  • Using air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters
  • Keeping indoor air dry by using a dehumidifier
  • Thoroughly washing your face and hair when you get home

If your symptoms are continuous and affect your ability to carry out routine activities, you should speak with an allergist.  Your allergist will be able to help you identify what triggers your seasonal allergies and provide the best course of treatment to offer relief or stop symptoms.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Summer Allergies

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience summertime allergies, you may want to control your seasonal symptoms with this allergy sufferer’s survival guide.

Summer allergies occur when your immune system tries to defend your body against substances that are harmless to others causing itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and an itchy, stuffy or runny nose.

About 50 million Americans suffer from year-round allergies to mold, dust, and pets. However, summer allergies are mostly triggered by trees, pollen, leaves, grasses and ragweed.

There isn’t a cure for allergies, but there are ways you can find relief.  If your symptoms are minor, there are over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays that may help.

The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to suffer unnecessarily.  If over–the–counter remedies aren’t working, then it’s probably a good idea to seek the advice of a doctor.

To schedule an appointment with an Allergist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is It Spring Allergies Or COVID19?

With Spring now upon us, more and more people are taking advantage of the nicer weather and spending significant time outdoors, but this change in season can also bring the return of allergies for many. For some, these allergic reactions could be confused with symptoms of Covid-19. Flushing Hospital wants to offer our community with tips on how to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and Covid.

While the symptoms of allergies and Covid-19 can be similar, there are some definitive ways to tell which you are experiencing so you can treat it appropriately.

Typically, a virus such as Covid-19 causes a system-wide response, while an allergy, which is an overreaction of the immune system in response to exposure to a trigger, is usually more localized. For instance, someone with Covid-19 may have a fever, body aches, chills, a sore throat, weakness, and respiratory symptoms. On the other hand, someone with allergies will be more likely to have the symptoms centered on the nose, eyes, and throat, and they usually will not have a fever.

In addition, allergies cause itchiness: itchy eyes, itchy nose and sneezing, and a tickle in the throat, while itchiness is usually not a symptom of illness. COVID-19 also does not seem to cause much in the way of nasal symptoms, which means if your child is sneezing a lot, it is more likely allergies and isn’t related to COVID-19.

To treat allergies, your doctor may recommend using allergy medications to prevent or manage the symptoms. This can include antihistamines (a medication that blocks histamine, a chemical your body releases when exposed to a trigger), nasal corticosteroids (prescription medications that relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation in your nasal passages), and if you also have asthma, a rescue asthma inhaler (this contains a medication that opens airway passages) and inhaled corticosteroids (this reduces the inflammation in your airways).

In addition, there are some things you can do to limit your chances of experiencing allergy symptoms, including:

  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting in your eyes.
  • Remove your clothes as soon as you come home and wash them remove allergens.
  • Wash your child’s hands and face as soon as they come in from the outdoors.

It is important to note that you can have seasonal allergies and still contract Covid, so it is important to not dismiss the possibility of one just because you have the other.  If you have any suspicions, it is important to consult with your physicians.  To make an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Household Products and Asthma

Keeping your home clean can minimize your exposure to various asthma triggers such as dust and mold.  However, some household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can induce asthma symptoms.

Certain cleaning products are known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air while they are being used.  VOCs are dangerous gases that can cause adverse reactions, and contribute to chronic respiratory problems.   According to the American Lung Association (ALA), “Cleaning supplies and household products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include, but are not limited to: aerosol spray products, chlorine bleach, detergent and dishwashing liquid, rug and upholstery cleaners and oven cleaners.”

The ALA also warns people with asthma and other chronic respiratory health problems against the use of products that contain a mixture of bleach and ammonia.   This harmful combination is a known asthma trigger. In some cases, symptoms that result from the use of both products can lead to death.

One of the most effective ways to avoid using harmful household products is to carefully read their labels.  Purchase products that contain zero or reduced amounts of VOCs, irritants or fragrances.   The ALA recommends using milder products such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, or lemon juice to make alternative and safer cleaning solutions. If you must use a chemical product choose those that are certified green by reputable organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective masks and gloves.

It is also important to keep in mind that while you are cleaning to keep your area well ventilated. Do not use products in an enclosed area; open your windows and doors.  Proper ventilation reduces the effects that poor air quality can have on your health.

For additional information on safe ways to clean your home, visit the American Lung Association’s website at www.Lung.org

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Asthma and Humidity

Severe weather conditions such as high humidity can negatively affect those living with asthma.

Excessive moisture and the heaviness of the air caused by humidity can make it difficult to breathe. Hot and humid air can also help allergens which trigger asthma symptoms such as mold to thrive.

High humidity levels can cause the following asthma symptoms to occur:

  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic coughing

To avoid or minimize the risk of these symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that humidity levels should be kept between 35%-50% in the home.  When temperatures are hot and humid, it is best to use an air conditioner or dehumidifier, or both.

If you are experiencing symptoms of asthma, take medications as directed or contact your doctor immediately.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Urticaria (hives) is a skin condition caused usually by an allergic reaction or in some cases, unknown reasons.  Hives can appear on any part of the body and appear when a substance within the body called histamine is released from cells called mast cells. This causes fluid to leak from blood vessels, causing a reaction on the surface of the skin.

Hives can be as small as a pencil point or appear as big welts and are usually red, itchy and have varying shapes.  They usually last a few hours but can last a day or so, and if there is constant exposure to what is causing the condition, they will last much longer. The condition can be acute, lasting just a few weeks, to chronic which can go on for months.

The allergic reaction may be a result of exposure to certain allergens, chemicals in some food, insect bites, heat, cold and being out in sunlight. Certain medications can also be responsible for causing hives, most notably nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), aspirin, codeine, and morphine.

Hives usually resolve on their own in a few hours or days. One way to try to control the symptoms of hives is to avoid what is causing it, if it can be determined. Often times a physician will recommend taking an antihistamine. It is always suggested to see a physician if the condition becomes very uncomfortable or doesn’t resolve in a few days. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Hot Weather Affect Asthma ?

It is a fact that breathing difficulties associated with asthma are affected by hot weather. Anyone who has walked a few blocks when it is hot and humid outside will know that breathing seems to be more difficult. This is especially true for anyone who suffers from asthma. One possible cause of this is due to the hot, humid air irritating the airways causing inflammation which will lead to symptoms of an asthma attack. Another reason is that hot and humid air is heavier and therefore a person may have to struggle to breathe..
In hot weather months there is an increase in the amount of ozone in the air and also a higher concentration of dust and fine particles which can cause existing respiratory conditions to worsen especially in the very young and the elderly.
Some of the environmental factors that affect the respiratory system are:
• Higher levels of carbon dioxide and higher temperature can lead to more spores and mold in the air.

• Higher temperatures can lead to more greenhouse gases being produced.

• Environmental production of pollutants from vehicles and factories become trapped in the atmosphere.

These environmental conditions can cause chest pain, wheezing, and coughing, and reduced lung function for those who suffer with asthma.
Irritants that affect breathing function have definitely worsened over the years due to climate changes. People are being treated more frequently in the emergency rooms across the country due to lack of clean air to breathe.
To help avoid asthma attacks in hot weather it is recommended to:
• Stay indoors as much as possible in an air conditioned environment
• Avoid strenuous activity
• Keep hydrated
• Try to limit being outdoors during the hottest time of day
To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital who can help treat breathing difficulties, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Asthma and Allergies

The most common form of asthma is caused by an allergic reaction. More than fifty percent of people who suffer from asthma have this type of disease. Asthma is an airway obstruction caused by inflammation and is a reaction that people have when they are exposed to substances that they are allergic to. Some of the offending substances are pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold and some foods. An asthma attack has three components:

• The bands of muscles surrounding the airways in the lungs tighten. This is called broncospasm.

• The lining of the airways become inflamed and swollen.

• There is an increase in mucous production in the lining of the airway.

All of these factors make it harder for air to pass through the lungs, and breathing becomes difficult.

Treatment for allergy induced asthma requires testing to see what a person is allergic to. Once these allergens have been identified the patient will be advised to avoid them. There is no cure for asthma but, there are several medications available that can help control it. Antihistamines are often administered, which help reduce the allergic reaction. A physician may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation of the airway and make breathing easier. Some medications are given for immediate relief of symptoms. Such as broncodilators which are inhaled as needed to help to relax the airways. Other medications are used for long term control of symptoms and are taken on a daily basis. Speak to your physician if you experience difficulty breathing after coming in contact with certain substances. There are different treatment options available and you want to learn about the one that will be best for you.  You can also schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist  at Flushing Hospital by calling 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Ways to Reduce Symptoms of Eczema

Itching

Eczema is a condition that causes patches of skin to become red, inflamed, rough and itchy.  Eczema is not a specific health condition; it is a reaction pattern that the skin produces as a result of a number of different diseases.

The specific causes of eczema currently remain unknown, but it is believed to develop due to a combination of hereditary (genetic) and environmental factors.

Environmental symptoms of eczema include:

  • Irritants – soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, juices from fresh fruits, meats, or vegetables
  • Allergens – dust mites, pets, pollens, mold, dandruff
  • Microbes – bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, certain fungi
  • Hot and cold temperatures – hot weather, high and low humidity, perspiration from exercise
  • Foods – dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, wheat
  • Stress – it is not a cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse
  • Hormones – women can experience worsening of eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in their menstrual cycle

Since there is no cure for eczema, treatment for the condition is aimed toward healing the affected skin in an effort to prevent a flare up of symptoms.  For some people, eczema goes away over time, and for others, it remains a lifelong condition.

There are a number of things that people with eczema can do to support skin health and alleviate symptoms, such as:

  • Taking regular warm baths
  • Applying moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing to “lock in” moisture
  • Moisturizing every day
  • Wearing cotton and soft fabrics, avoiding rough, scratchy fibers, and tight-fitting clothing
  • Using mild soap or a non-soap cleanser when washing
  • Air drying or gently patting skin dry with a towel, rather than rubbing skin dry after bathing
  • Avoiding rapid changes of temperature and activities that make you sweat (where possible)
  • Learning individual eczema triggers and avoiding them
  • Using a humidifier in dry or cold weather
  • Keeping fingernails short to prevent scratching from breaking skin

Medication can also be helpful in treating or preventing symptoms.  These treatments are prescribed by a physician.  If you are experiencing symptoms of eczema and would like to speak with a physician, call Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.