Tips For Circumventing Mother Nature At This Time Of Year
among the 35 million-plus people in the U.S. who suffer from seasonal
allergies, it's not news to you that the allergy season has arrived
early in many parts of the country especially in Southern California.
Your nose knows it's true and so do your eyes, chest, head and maybe
even your ears. Sneezing, congestion, runny nose and itchiness are
common symptoms of allergic rhinitis (commonly referred to as "hay
burst of color -- a spectacular display of buds and blossoms -- comes
hand-in-hand with a bumper crop of airborne pollens and mold spores,
due in part to winter's heavy rains and higher than normal
doubt that nature has created a wonderful greenhouse effect this year,"
says Zab Mosenifar, MD, director of Pulmonary and Critical Care at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "The heavy rains and higher temperatures
have produced an impressive growth of vegetation which is wonderful to
enjoy if you don't have allergies. But if you have a history of
allergic rhinitis or allergic asthma (the most common type of asthma),
you need to be careful in terms of when and where you exercise during
Both allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma can be triggered by allergens such as pollen and mold.
allergic rhinitis is an annoying condition, allergic asthma is more
serious and can be life-threatening," explains Dr. Mosenifar.
asthma, allergens cause the passages in the airways to become inflamed
and swollen, making it difficult to breathe. In allergic rhinitis, the
mucous membranes in the nose become inflamed, causing sneezing,
congestion, runny nose and itchiness in the roof of the mouth, throat,
eyes, nose and ears.
It's almost impossible to hide from pollen and mold since both are carried by wind currents.
are only found outdoors, molds are found both indoors and outdoors.
Outdoor molds can be found in soil, vegetation and rotting wood; you'll
find indoor molds in bathrooms, attics, carpets, upholstery and garbage
containers and in any moist area.
and mold just about everywhere, is there anything allergy suffers can
do to minimize their discomfort during this season? The following are
tips Dr. Mosenifar shares with his patients for "circumventing or
getting around" their environment.
1. Change the
time and location of your exercise routine. Avoid exercising in the
early morning between the hours of 5 and 10 since that's when pollen is
usually emitted. Exercise indoors whenever possible or find a place
that's somewhat removed from green vegetation.
swimming. Dr. Mosenifar especially recommends that people suffering
seasonal allergies and asthma integrate swimming into their exercise
routine. "Swimming is an excellent exercise for people with allergies.
If you're fortunate to be near a beach, you'll find one of the purest
concentrations of air in the ten to 15 inch layer right above the
water. The gentle humidity keeps your airways from drying out."
3. Ask your
physician if he or she recommends long-acting over-the-counter
medications. "These often can be effective in blocking the effects of
exposure to allergens," Dr. Mosenifar says. He's hesitant to recommend
immunotherapy as a panacea for allergies. "Identifying exactly which
substances a person is allergic to is like answering the $64,000 dollar
question. It would be wonderful if we could do that, but it's very
difficult since there are literally thousands of allergens.
Immunotherapy has been around for years, but it's still more of an
4. "Take a
look at some of the allergen-specific products on the market. Mattress
and pillow covers that keep harmful dust mite allergens from escaping
from bedding can be helpful. And wearing a face mask, although it might
not be very attractive, is definitely better than not being able to
enjoy the outdoors," Dr. Mosenifar adds.
you're thinking about moving to get away from your allergies, think
Mosenifar advises against it. "I am very much against people moving in
hopes of finding an allergy-free environment," he says. "Once you move,
your allergies are not going to go away. If you have a propensity for
developing allergies, you might buy some time in a new location but
you'll eventually find new allergens."
Copyright 2004 Health Resources Publishing