Start the New Year with Better Breathing and Less Sneezing and Wheezing

As people gear up for the holidays, many are also thinking about the beginning of the year – and New Year’s resolutions. “Getting healthy” is a big one, and although most people know what they need to do to get healthier, they also know it’s not necessarily easy to make those changes happen. People convince themselves that changes for better health are either too time-consuming, too expensive or too difficult. But there’s no reason you can’t start by making small changes and then move on to bigger or more difficult changes as you see improvements. People with asthma and allergies have different health challenges than others, but by paying attention to small changes, they’ll begin to see improvements pretty rapidly.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, a few tweaks to your routine – some big, some small – could make a difference in dialing down the wheezing, sneezing and allergic reactions in the New Year. Here are five New Year’s resolutions that those who suffer from allergies or asthma should consider for 2019…

Exercise Smarter

Anyone with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active all day, and sleep well at night — that includes exercise. If you have asthma, avoid exercising in a cold room or in cold weather. Indoor and outdoor air pollution, high pollen counts, and common colds can also cause symptoms during exercise. Sports that require only short bursts of activity are best – think volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, wrestling, golf and swimming. Use your inhaler before exercising and as needed during exercise.

Pack Bags Wisely

It’s fun to explore new places, but travel can be daunting for those with allergies, asthma, or food allergies. Advance preparation can make travel easier. Be sure you take allergy medications, an inhaler, and allergist-prescribed epinephrine if you are at risk for a severe allergic reaction, otherwise known as anaphylaxis. If you rely on immunotherapy (allergy shots) for relief, schedule an appointment before you leave. There are places that offer allergy-free rooms, but make sure your definition of allergy-free lines up with theirs in order to avoid triggers. If you’re allergic to dust mites, bring your allergy-blocking bedding.

Make Your Lungs Happy

Giving up the smokes tops a lot of lists, and it’s a big one. But for those who suffer from asthma – and particularly for children with asthma who inhale secondhand smoke – smoking is an added hazard. A recent study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology showed children with asthma who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home have nearly double the risk of being hospitalized than children with asthma who aren’t exposed.

See An Allergist

Sometimes people avoid going to an allergist even though symptoms are making their daily routine difficult. Every year, more people are diagnosed with seasonal allergies, and the pollen season gets worse. Some allergy medications require you to start taking them twelve weeks before symptoms start, so the beginning of the year is a perfect time to see an allergist and learn about your options. An allergist can determine what is causing symptoms and show you how to avoid triggers. For those with particularly bothersome allergies, an allergist may prescribe immunotherapy which can modify and prevent allergy development, and many people with asthma don’t know that allergists are specially trained to treat asthma symptoms. Compared to care provided by generalists, asthma sufferers getting care from an allergist have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, higher ratings for the quality of care, fewer restrictions in activities, and improved physical functioning.

Load Up On Info

The New Year is the time to get your allergies and asthma in order. Consider tracking your symptoms with the ACAAI Allergy Tracker. The tracker can help you identify your triggers, track your symptoms and pinpoint effective medications.

Not sure exactly what’s making you miserable? Here at MASA, we can help ease your suffering by identifying your allergy or asthma triggers and prescribing treatment. Call us at 309-452-0995 or 217-717-4404 to book your appointment today! Happy New Year!

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