Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring is here again and this year the pollen count is especially high.
People are sneezing, sniffling, wheezing and coughing everywhere you go.
For the pollen sufferers, here are a few helpful hints.
Keep your windows closed. It is tempting to open them during these beautiful spring days, but it allows pollen into the home.
The pollen count is at its highest during the early morning and at nighttime so try to stay indoors. Remove your shoes at the door when you return inside so you are not tracking pollen into the house. Change your clothes when you come indoors and taking a shower after being outdoors washes the pollen from your hair and skin.

Some helpful tips to ensure your home is allergy free include: wash your bedding twice a week in hot water. Be sure to wash all linen on your bed (including your blankets). Encase your mattress and pillows with allergy covers to ensure dust mites are unable to flourish. If you have carpeting, consider removing this, especially from the bedroom this is a very complex source of allergens.
Keep your air conditioning running and maintain the humidity level below 55%. Maintaining your home clean and dust free is also imperative. The use of a HEPA air purifier will help cleanse and purify your air of pollen, dust, animal dander and mold spores. If you have pets, do not allow them into your bedroom, they carry in pollen from the outdoors.

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's so beautiful outside, yet I feel so awful inside!

Well it's that time of year when seasonal allergies are upon us. Yes, the tree pollens (oak, cedar, and cypress) have already started releasing in Tampa, Florida even before Christmas 2008! That's due to the fact that we have not had a true winter here, with persistant warm temperatures and humidity. If you have had a "lingering" cold for the past 2-3 months, most likely you are experiencing seasonal allergies, otherwise known as spring hay fever. Some of these symptoms may include itchy, watery eyes; runny and/or stuffy nose; sneezing; post-nasal drip; cough; and even chest tightness.

So what can you do other than to avoid being outdoors, which of course is one of the benefits of living in sunny, South Florida! Well there are a variety of medications available, including eye drops, pills and nasal sprays. One of the newest, prescriptive nasal sprays, called Veramyst, can treat most of these symptoms in as little as 24 hours.

Veramyst is indicated for anyone above the age of 2 years for seasonal allergies. Effectiveness, of course, is dependent on frequency of use. Below the age of 12 years, the number of sprays per nostril is one, and is not shown to be effective for the eye symptoms. Above 12 years the dosage is 2 sprays per nostril initially, lowered to 1 spray per nostril after symptoms improve. Effectiveness with eye itching and watering has been shown in this age group.

As with all medications there are always possible side effects. Potential for nose bleeds, fungal sinus infections, glaucoma, and cataracts exist. Therefore one should never use any medication indefinitely and should have evaluations by their allergist or primary care doctor often. It is important to note that medications only treat the symptoms of allergies, not the underlying cause. If you are dependent on daily medications in order to have an improved quality of life, then diagnosing the allergies and beginning a process of desensitization may be more beneficial.

Rebecca Levy, MSN, ARNP

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Inspirational Achievers Living with Asthma

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology gave two thumbs up to 13-year old Sam Kimmel, who appeared on the Today show to discuss his experience as the this year's NFL Play 60 Superbowl kid, along with fellow asthma veteran, former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis. Being based in Tampa, it's only appropriate to kick off our blog with this local story!

The best advice we could find here was taken from Jerome's mom when he was a kid: As long as you take your medicine, you will be fine! Of course medications are largely instrumental in helping manage your asthma symptoms on a day-to-day basis, but what long-term treatments exist to battle asthma at its core and help get kids back out in the field with less breaks for inhalers? What asthma treatment stories do you have?