In many parts of the US, spring has arrived... blooming flowers and trees, greening grass, warmer weather, and balmy breezes. It's all good, right?
Well, maybe not all good. For those of us who have asthma that is triggered by pollen, spring often brings an increase in symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, cough, and shortness of breath. Tree pollens are most common in the spring and early summer, followed by grass pollen through the summer. Then, come late summer/early fall, weed pollens start to take over.
So, what you're feeling right now could be just the start of several months of more active symptoms... unless you take action now to stop your asthma symptoms in their tracks.
There are several things you can do:
- If you don't take allergy medicine all year round, then now is a good time to start taking it again. Talk with your doctor if you need a prescription. You can also buy Claritin and generic equals to it over the counter too. Don't wait until you start to have symptoms, because you could quickly spiral out of control.
- Be sure to take your asthma medicine exactly as prescribed too. Don't skip any doses of your controller medicine and keep your quick-relief inhaler close at hand too. That way, if you start to have symptoms of an asthma attack, you'll be prepared to take action quickly.
- Try to avoid spring allergens (pollen) as much as possible. Stay indoors during the early morning hours, when pollen counts tend to be highest. Dry, windy days are the worst pollen days. If you are exposed to pollen, for example, if you have to wipe it off your car after work, then take off your shoes and change your clothes as soon as you get home. You may even want to take a shower and wash your hair.
If you learn better from pictures than words, you might want to take a look at this great slide show on the Forbes.com website that tells how to deal with spring allergies:
If you find that allergies are making it hard to control your asthma, you might want to consult an allergist. An allergist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of people who have allergies. This kind of doctor can help you identify your specific allergy triggers through allergy testing. He or she is also more likely to be familiar with the most effective allergy and asthma treatments.
Here are some other pages that can help you stay on top of spring allergies and asthma: