After a season filled with clouds and rain, I believe most of us are excited for the warmer temperatures that the spring is bringing us. However, not everyone is enjoying the fresh air of spring, especially not those suffering from allergies. Sneezing, itching, and watery eyes shouldn’t be synonymous with spring.
Reports have been made that this could be one of the toughest allergy seasons that we’ve seen in years. A recent pollen count in Atlanta just last week (4/11) was 8,024 (anything over 1,500 is considered extremely high). Pollen is everywhere so it can be difficult to avoid. Below are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to pollen:
- Stay indoors as much as possible between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Use a HEPA filter on your furnace and air conditioner.
- Wipe pets down before they come indoors from being outside. Pollen can collect on their fur.
- Remove shoes before coming inside so you’re not trekking pollen off the bottom of your shoes.
- Do NOT line dry your clothes outside. Dry all clothes in the dryer.
- Wash bedding on a regular basis to remove pollen left on sheets.
- Shower before going to bed to remove the day’s pollen from your hair and skin.
- Vacuum, sweep, mop, and dust. Keeping floors and surfaces clear of allergens can help reduce the amount of pollen floating around your home. It is highly recommended that you wear a mask and gloves while cleaning.
- Treat allergy symptoms with over the counter allergy relief.
- Consult your Doctor. Your Doctor will be able to help you determine what exactly it is that you’re allergic to.
Disclaimer: These tips are general medical information and do not constitute medical advice. Please contact your physician for information about yourself or your family member.
Spring has arrived and brought pollen with it. Yesterday’s pollen count is the highest ever recorded in Atlanta for that date. According to Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, the record number was 9369 per cubic meter.
If you have springtime allergies you are probably having a tough time right now due to the extremely high pollen counts. Even people who do not normally have allergies can be having some difficulties with the pollen.
- Eyes: Itchy, runny, swollen eyes
- Nose: Stuffy or congested nose, clear or colored nasal discharge, sneezing or itchy nose, post nasal drainage
- Throat: Sore or itchy throat
- Lungs: Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
- Skin: Increased itching, scratching of the skin and a possible flare of eczema, atopic dermatitis or other skin conditions.
Tips To Avoid Pollen:
- Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity, especially in the yard.
- Run your air conditioner in your home and change your air filter regularly.
- Keep your windows closed for now.
- Vacuum at least twice a week. Empty the bag and change the filters regularly.
- Dust or clean any visible pollen from your house.
- Wash your hands, hair, body, and clothes when you come in from the outside.
- Remove your shoes and jackets at the door.
- Wash off pets if they have been running and playing in the yard.
- Keep your car windows and sunroof closed and run the air conditioner on re-circulate to avoid bringing in air from the outside.
- Consider an air purifier if you have very bad symptoms. Put it in the room where you sleep and shut the door to keep pollen from entering.
- Remove any unnecessary carpets or objects that collect pollen and dust from your room during this time.
- Avoid outdoor exercise when the pollen count is high because it may be harmful to your system. Even indoor exercise might be a problem if you have respiratory symptoms like wheezing or coughing so contact your physician before you exercise.
Treatment for Hay Fever Symptoms:
If you have a cough, wheezing or difficulty breathing, immediately call your doctor. For serious breathing problems call 911. You may be having a serious problem like an asthma attack. Treatment may include breathing treatments or steroids. You will definitely need to see your doctor if you are concerned about your cough or breathing.
In general, anti-histamines (like diphenhydramine, loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine) are the first thing many people try because they decrease the allergic response. There are multiple over the counter preparations that work pretty well, but oftentimes one works better for one individual than another, and some have less side effects, like sedation, than others. There are prescription medications as well that your doctor can prescribe to you.
Decongestants help by relieving the inflammation and congestion that comes with the allergic response. Medications like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are available over the counter but can have serious side effects, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking them.
Steroids also decrease the inflammation related to allergies so they are used commonly if the anti-histamine or decongestants are not effective. Steroids are always prescribed by a physician or health care provider and cannot be obtained over the counter.
For itchy eyes (Allergic Conjunctivitis) there are many types of over the counter drops that work very well. One product has pheneramine (anti-histamine) and naphazoline (gets the red out). As with any medicine it can have side effects so contact your doctor if you are taking any other medications before you use it. Please discuss the treatment with your physician if you have any concerns.
Sneezing, runny nose, and congestion are symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis. There are many different preparations for this as well starting with decongestants which dry up your nose. Other preparations are steroid nasal sprays and medicines that stabilize the allergic response.
Enjoy Spring, but be careful if you are having allergic symptoms and call your doctor for any medical advice. CorrectMed Pediatrics can answer your questions and treat you if needed.
Disclaimer: The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice.
Spring brings with it flowers, pollen, birds and bees! But it also brings pests that are returning from their winter break. For many of us, mosquitoes are a real problem that keeps us from enjoying the outdoors. But more importantly, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. They can also cause heartworm in dogs. *Click here for a brief outline on these diseases* These diseases are very serious but fortunately, rarely directly related to mosquitoes.
In general, the problem with mosquito bites is due to an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva and the problems associated with swelling and scratching of the mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites you they inject saliva which helps keep the blood from clotting. The saliva causes an inflammatory reaction which causes the itching and swelling associated with the bite. Most people just get a big irritating lump on the skin which if they scratch becomes more swollen and lasts longer. But some people actually have an allergic reaction to the mosquito saliva and can become very ill.
For the itching and swelling, anti-histamines are recommended. Diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl – TM) can be used orally or applied in creams or lotions combined with calamine. Anti-inflammatory steroid creams may help too – creams like 1% hydrocortisone.
Interesting Fact: Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood to obtain protein for their eggs; male mosquitoes suck nectar.
Even if you don’t get sick from the mosquito, many people scratch their bites until they bleed. When the skin is open it is susceptible to secondary infection. Children and adults can get a skin infection called impetigo which is a superficial skin infection caused by bacteria called staph and strep. Impetigo causes open sores and crusting (honey colored) and swelling in the areas. Impetigo is usually worse in the summer when children are out playing in the dirt, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and then getting those sores infected. Excellent hygiene (SOAP and WATER) can prevent most impetigo and cure mild cases. Over the counter antibiotic ointments (like Bacitracin) can help too as well as prescription ointments like mupurocin. There may be enlarged glands in the area, fever, and a spreading rash. Usually more severe impetigo needs an oral antibiotic so contact your doctor if you think you have impetigo and need medicine for it.
Man’s best friend can be affected with heartworms which are also transmitted by mosquitoes. So protect your entire family against these pests.
The best prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes from your environment. Since this is virtually impossible to do completely, several strategies should be employed:
- Be sure to get rid of any standing water around your home to avoid breeding areas for the mosquitoes. Old tires are notorious for having water inside of them so be sure to get rid of any tires in or around the yard.
- Call Northwest Exterminating. Their Green Mosquito Control Program is a 7 month program which sprays the shrubs, bushes and plants where mosquitoes and ticks like to hide. This will greatly reduce the mosquito and tick population in your yard and will act as a barrier and repellent for any stray mosquitoes that fly into the area.
- By wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats and socks you can protect yourself from mosquitoes and their bites.
- Also, use of insect repellents is a good idea. There are many products on the market; but the most popular is DEET. DEET contains repellents and comes in many different forms and concentrations.
- Screened in porches, mosquito netting and other barriers are helpful too.
Give your family the best protection against mosquitoes by calling Northwest Exterminating for their Green Mosquito Control Program. Be sure to ask for your FREE inspection!