Do you look forward to autumn, or do you dread months of coughing and sneezing?
Your best bet is to head off your fall allergies before they begin.
Summer comes with playful outdoor activities and family gatherings. The last thing we want is to have to be dealing with trips to the emergency room or any unwanted surprise to make us or our loved ones sick.
Hurricane season is upon us. This is the time when stocking-up on canned foods, batteries and water goes along with the everlasting hope that we will not get hit. Whether you already have an established routine of refurbishing the pantry and finding adequate shelter, or you are completely new to the hurricane-preparedness madness that goes into effect when under a storm threat, we have thought about providing you with a special checklist.
1. Avoid the “priming” effect. You should start drugs, which were previously effective, early in the season before pollen peaks. This should be before we start seeing pollen in trees throughout the country in February, and possibly January for southern states like Florida. We are mainly referring to antihistamines, ideally not the ones that make you drowsy. We also recommend the frequent use of saline nasal sprays to avoid the accumulation of pollen in the nasal passages.
2. Use goggles or glasses for those suffering from allergic eye symptoms. Similarly, a mask is recommended if you plan to pick up the fallen leaves, mow the lawn, or do any kind of yard work under the trees at the start and during the season.
3. Close the windows, change the air conditioner filter frequently, and it is also recommended to use a high efficiency filter. Drive with your car windows closed and use the ac to recirculate the air you breathe while driving.
4. Consider seeing an allergist for a proper evaluation of your symptoms because not all symptoms are triggered by the spring season. Early treatment helps prevent suffering during this time of year.
5. If you are allergic try to avoid activities or sports outdoors in the spring. If you can’t avoid outdoor activities then try to avoid peak times when the pollen count is higher. This happens between 5am and 10am usually, so try to play sports in the afternoon to avoid discomfort.
6. Hot, dry days will have a greater amount of pollen in the environment than cold, rainy days. Consider this when making outdoor plans.
7. Once you know what you are allergic to, stay informed of the daily pollen report in your area. Pollen and mold reports are often provided by weather centers as well as certain specialists in your area. FCAAC provides this report daily on our website for the convenience of our patients. Note that the type of pollen varies depending on the vegetation in each geographic region.
8. Change clothes once you get home from an outing because pollen sticks to fabric. You can spread pollen spores all throughout your home without even knowing it.
9. Do not dry your clothes outside on the patio because pollen can get stuck to it. Ideally, always use a dryer or let the clothes dry indoors.
It hardly seems fair, but if you’re prone to spring or summer allergies, chances are you’re at risk for allergies when the weather turns cooler, too. The reason is simple: Many of those warm-weather irritants like pet dander, dust and mold and mildew are around all year. And in Florida where the winters are mild, outdoor allergens like pollen also can cause year-round allergy woes.
To avoid having these seasonal traditions irritate your allergy symptoms, experts recommend spraying live trees and greenery with water before they are brought inside to remove potential allergens. You should also remove the dust from holiday decorations before hanging them.
For some people with allergies, the best option is to switch to an artificial Christmas tree. During the holidays, poinsettias can also be problematic for people who have latex allergies since this plant is part of the rubber tree family, said Adriana Bonansea-Frances, M.D., PhD.
The symptoms of colds and allergies are similar, so how can you tell if your runny nose and sneezing are signs of a cold or flu or allergies? ‘If your symptoms last longer than a week, it’s probably not a cold’, says Dr. Bonansea Frances. Allergies can linger for weeks or even months. In addition, colds and flu sometimes come with fever and aches and pains — symptoms not usually associated with allergies.
The most common allergy symptoms include:
• Coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
• Stuffy, runny or itchy nose
• Congestion or sinus pressure
• Itchy or watery eyes
• Dark circles under the eyes
• Itchy, prickly skin or hives
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology advises taking the following steps to allergy-proof your home:
• Remove carpets, if possible.
• Mop, sweep, vacuum and dust often. Wash showers and sinks to remove mold and mildew.
• Discard shower curtains, wallpaper or carpeting that have mold.
• Turn on exhaust fans when taking a shower or cooking to reduce humidity and odors.
• Use dehumidifiers to keep humidity levels at 30-40 % to help control dust mites and mold.
• Install high-efficiency furnace filters, which eliminate 30 times more allergens.
• Use a HEPA air filter to clean dust from the air and a HEPA vacuum on carpets to reduce pet allergens and remove dust mites.
• Wash bedding and pajamas in hot water twice a month. Use allergy-proof covers on mattresses, pillows and comforters.
• Bathe pets and wash pet bedding each week. Keep pets out of the bedrooms.
• Call a professional when combating mouse and insect infestations.
When allergies flare-up, take care of yourself to keep your allergy symptoms in check:
• Wash your hands often, especially after playing with pets.
• Take a shower or change clothes to remove allergens that may be clinging to you.
• Avoid touching your face.
Dr. Bonansea Frances advises patients to consult their doctor about medication options and dosages.
Treatments for winter allergies include:
• Antihistamines to reduce sneezing, sniffling and itching.
• Decongestants to clear mucus and relieve congestion and swelling.
• Saline solution to irrigate nasal passages and clear congestion.
• Allergy shots to expose the body to gradually increasing doses of the allergen.
Living in South Florida exposes you to allergy triggers all year round. If you suspect having any allergy symptoms, you need to consult an allergist. We’ll be happy to help you.
You know that “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” when there are reasons for Thanksgiving, exchanging gifts, welcoming the new year, celebrating the good-riddance of the year gone, traveling to visit friends and families, or simply enjoying a family trip or outing to your favorite local restaurant.
Now lets imagine the picture: airplane tickets, video camera, the book you always wanted to read, hotel reservation, tickets to that long-awaited theater show, booking for a hike in the canyon, passports and visas, suitcases packed with bathing suits or winter gear, etc… Then questions start to arise: Will I be able to bring the asthma inhalers in cabin? Is the airline still offering peanuts as snacks? Where’s the gluten-free choice in the restaurant menu on the cruise? Is the hotel room hypo-allergenic or will I not be able to sleep? Where is the nearest hospital or emergency facility?
When traveling with (kids with) allergies and asthma there are a series of precautions that need to be addressed besides the logistics, to assure the family a load of fun. We have tried to compile a list of what we think can help achieve a smooth and exhilarating holiday season or stay-cation.
For a sniff-free holiday season do you want to know why coming to Miami would be one of the top choices? We live in one of the top 15 travel destinations in the United States for allergy sufferers with the following parameters: dust mite control, pet free places, mold control (that’s not to say we don’t have any, just keep it under strict control down in South Florida), and pollen control.
Disney has a Guest Services Department with Special Dietary Request page that gives specifications as to how to make reservations. Also on December 15 a special event called - Private Illumination Dessert Party (read more on this here)
There’s an online guide to allergy friendly restaurants that also offers a free downloadable APP : it comes handy when deciding on where the entire family will be able to enjoy a festive meal.
Still in doubt on whether or not you are well prepared to avoid seasonal allergies? Take the quiz which will clear-up some misconceptions …. and if you scored really bad then don’t hesitate to come by and consult one of our physicians.
Stay tuned for next post about ideas on how to handle your child(ren) food allergies when hosting the holiday dinner parties/celebrations.
1. The “At Least One” Tip: 1 parent (or guardian), 1 cell phone and 1 packet of hand wipes.
2. The “Must” Tip: carry Epinephrine at all times if you suffer from severe allergies.
3. The “No Thank You” Tip: never be ashamed or feel silly for saying “no thank you” when offered an item you know is not safe.
(…look for free bonus further down this post…)
4. The “Substitute” Tip: here’s a list of items to give out other than candies: coloring pencils, stickers, plastic jewelry or mini toys, art supplies.
5. The “Stomach Full” Tip: eat dinner before trick-or-treating so that your child(ren) will not be tempted to eat every candy in sight.
6. The “Trick-Or-Trade” Tip: have your child trade the candy collected for a wrapped gift and donate the candy instead. Trade safe for unsafe candies when back home.
7. The “Be Prepared” Tip: consider buying some allergy-free treats to give out to your neighbors.
8. The “No Way Jose” Tip: never have your child eat any treats before having read all the labels.
9. The “Think Outside the Box” Tip: instead of heading out door-to-door looking for candy, plan a different and fun activity for your kids (like a scavenger hunt where they can find allergy-safe treats)
(….and now the FREE BONUS we promised you!)
Click here to download the FREE STICKERS we have created for you. Use them profusely on your costume, lunch box, school bag, etc…. We know you are well aware of your kids’ allergies and how to keep them safe, but we want everyone your kid might come in contact with to also be mindful . These stickers will come in very handy in alerting people what items are NOT SAFE for your child(ren).
Because we’ve all been there…you come home after a full day of candy-infused activities and now your home looks like a giant piñata just broke open. Well here are 4 GAMES to manage all those treats:
Tormented by sneezing and itchy eyes during summer? Do you dread the inevitable arrival of those months ending in “ber” ? As if having to prepare for tropical storms and hurricane threats wasn’t enough, if you are among those 36 million Americans with seasonal allergies, now you also must take measures to protect yourself from pollen!
Watery and swollen eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy throat…this is commonly known as hay fever, or as our doctors prefer to call it - seasonal allergic rhinitis. In some cases, these can develop into more serious asthma symptoms such as: coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing.
Ragweed is a type of weed common almost everywhere in the United States and its pollen can travel quite far. This means you don’t need to live out in the country to experience the effects of it; Even people who live in the bustling cities can suffer from a ragweed allergy.
The season usually starts during the last half of summer and lingers into the fall as late as into November. Ragweed rates normally peak sometime in mid-September. This means that after Labor Day your symptoms may intensify suddenly and may still continue through Halloween; At times even beyond due to global warming.
Generally, whoever is already allergic to other types of pollens or who has a family history. Additionally, it is also commonly seen in people who are allergic to other environmental allergens such as: dust, molds and pet dander.
March is the apex of tree pollinating time in South Florida. Believe it or not, the first trees in South Florida start pollinating in December while other varieties don’t until April or May. We think of pollen as that yellow powder usually found on the windshield that reminds us of spring and blooming flowers. However the pollen that causes allergies is much smaller. Although invisible to the eye, it causes major discomfort to the eyes, nose and throats. That is one of the reasons that knowing the daily pollen count is paramount for anybody suffering of environmental allergies, particularly in the early morning hours.
To “break the spell” of the pollen as primary culprit of a variety of allergy related cases, let’s see some of its positive qualities. Scientifically speaking, it relates to numerous terms: coarse powder, gametes, stamens and pistils, flowers, tube, spores and pollination to say the most pronounceable.
Pollen associates to bees and the production of honey. When the plants bloom in the spring, the pollen of the flower is the best source of protein for the baby bees. So yes indeed, pollen is a good provider.
The concept of the Pollinizer and the Pollinator is very bucolic. The first is the bee and the latter is the plant. The bee collects and distributes the pollen facilitating the process of reproduction, a more technically terminology called cross pollination. We may imagine pollen as a step to procreation.
Honey bees, orchid bees, sting-less bees, bumblebees they all have the pollen basket. After a series of mechanic movements and the help of a long protruding tongue, the bees push the pollen and the spores collected around their body while flying through the flowers into the basket. At the end of one of their “trip”, their basket looks like one of those old fashioned picnic ones decorated with fringed gingham fabric.
To isolate pollen as the cause of allergy symptoms such as wheezing, watery eyes and itchy nose, brings joy to any Allergist. Adults and children under immunotherapy treatment are more likely to keep episodes under control. Spring has officially begun and with it over 30 million people started experiencing seasonal Rhinitis. South Florida is not included in the list of the worst 10 places for Spring Allergy sufferers; however the Allergist is the most reliable doctor to be consulted should any of the symptoms arise.
Temperatures drop, wind picks up and there we are (insert loud sneeze) again!
We’ve been very lucky as winter this year in South Florida has been very mild. Only a couple of chilly weeks to show for it, really. Nonetheless, we’ve still had our good share of runny noses and frequent sneezes.
If your stuffy nose and cough lasts more than one or two weeks you most likely have more than just a cold or flu. Even though winter is many times overlooked by allergic rhinitis sufferers (aka hay fever – which means you’re allergic to dust, mold, pollen, mites or insect parts that linger in the air), you’d be surprised to know that winter can be just as bad or even worse than spring. With the arrival of low temperatures home heating systems kick-in, which stir all the dust settled in carpets, underneath beds and sofas, bookshelves, etc. And with all that flying around the air, and frosty weather keeping you indoors, those bothersome allergy symptoms (coughing, watery and itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing) become more of a problem.
Allergic rhinitis puts you at higher risk of developing sinusitis. This is due to the fact that allergies can cause your sinuses and nasal passages to swell. This swelling prevents the sinus cavities from draining properly, therefore increasing your chances of developing sinusitis or sinus infection.
True! Cold, dry air can be responsible for the onset of asthma symptoms like: wheezing, cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Viral and bacterial infections such as common colds and sinusitis, very frequent during winter time, can also trigger asthma symptoms and even severe asthma attacks. Asthma is caused by different factors in different people, which is why the smartest thing to do is to seek professional help and get personalized therapy and treatment.
False! Asthma patients must always consult their allergist/immunologist before deciding to use medications other than those prescribed by their doctor, including OTC cold medicine. Many drugs have contra indicatory reactions when combined, so asthma patients must use extra precaution. For example, decongestants can cause palpitations when used with standard asthma medications such as, bronchodilators.
If you have never been tested for allergies but suspect you might be showing symptoms of an allergy, it is time to make an appointment with one of our board certified allergists. Let us improve your quality of life with customized treatment plans, so you can breathe easy once again!