Allergy Triggers to Avoid
National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month
Since 1984, May is National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month.
These two conditions are often overlooked and not given the importance they deserve. However, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), asthma affects more than 24 million people in the United States, including more than 6 million children.
Additionally, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness, with more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies each year.
Why Is May National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month?
Declaring an observance month is never random. May happens to be the peak month for allergies. Asthma and allergies often go hand in hand, so it’s not unusual for someone with asthma to also suffer from allergies.
There is currently no cure for either of these conditions, but educating patients and the public about them can help manage them.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Asthma and Allergies
People can suffer from asthma or allergies, or both. Many myths surround these conditions, so as part of Altus Emergency Centers’ commitment to educate and prevent different health issues, we would like to share some facts.
- Asthma can be hereditary, but it can also affect people who have other allergic conditions and anyone exposed to polluted air, tobacco smoke, or viral respiratory infections at a young age.
- Overweight and obese patients are at a greater risk of asthma.
- Symptoms can include cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
- Medications can help manage asthma allowing patients to enjoy an active life.
- Weather conditions such as extremely dry, wet, or windy weather can worsen an asthma condition.
- If not managed adequately, asthma can lead to death
- People can suffer from different types of allergies; food allergies, eczema, and hay fever (rhinitis) are just a few examples.
- Symptoms from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itching of the nose, and watery eyes. This can be seasonal or perennial (year-round).
- Allergies are often hereditary.
- Allergies can appear at any age, and they can also disappear for some time and return.
- Although most cases of allergies present mild symptoms, sometimes an allergy can be life-threatening, causing an extreme immune reaction known as anaphylaxis which puts the person into shock and can significantly impair their breathing. This type of allergic reaction requires immediate medical attention even if the patient receives epinephrine and feels better.
- Knowing which allergy triggers to avoid is crucial.
Common Allergy and Asthma Triggers to Avoid
- Tobacco smoke: if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you should avoid smoking and secondhand smoke
- Outdoor air pollution: pollution originating from factories, cars, and burning wood can trigger respiratory allergies and asthma attacks. Try to avoid places with high pollution levels or plan your activities when air pollution levels are lower.
- Dust mites: These microscopic bugs that live in beds and couches are big triggers. Try to use allergen-proof mattress and pillowcase covers, wash your bedding weekly, and vacuum carpets, rugs, sofas, regularly
- Allergens in pet fur: unfortunately, many people are allergic to the allergens of their furry pets. If you know you are allergic, try finding an allergy-friendly breed, bathe and groom them regularly, and use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter.
- Mold: check your house for mold, which is common in damp areas. Eliminate it to help control your attacks.
- Disinfectants and cleaning products: avoid overuse of cleaning products. Choose products with a mild scent, and if possible, avoid aerosol presentations. Do not mix disinfectant products. Choose products that are less likely to trigger your allergies or asthma, such as products with hydrogen peroxide (no more than 3%) or ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Avoid using bleach.
- Dust: avoid disturbing dust but keep surfaces at your home and work as free from it as possible.
- Food allergies: make sure to inform the people who handle your food about any food allergies you have.
When to Go to the ER
A severe allergy or an asthma crisis requires immediate medical attention. Go to the nearest Altus Emergency Center immediately if you or someone you know experiences:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty speaking
- Very rapid breathing, coughing, or wheezing
- Chest pain
- Bluish color in the face, lips, or nails
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat.
Altus Emergency Centers are open 24/7 in their four locations: Baytown, Lake Jackson, Lumberton, Waxahachie. Severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks are time-sensitive emergencies; our minimal wait times and highly qualified medical professionals can help save lives.