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Achoo! Allergy season here
Health advice
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Are you one of the 50 million Americans diagnosed with asthma or allergies?
If so, you may be experiencing increased respiratory difficulties as a result of the dry weather. Air borne irritants and smoke add to the high pollen and mold ratings normal to this time of year. Our area usually ranks 10th or 11th in the worst allergy areas of the United States, but this year the lack of rain is increasing problems.
About 75 percent of people with allergies have indoor and outdoor allergens that trigger their disease. They experience hay fever; itchy eyes and nasal symptoms. Skin, eye, food, drug, latex and insect allergies make up the additional 25 percent of known allergies.
Allergies are characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance (allergen). Allergens can be eaten, breathed, injected or touched. When people with allergies touch, inhale or ingest these substances, an allergic antibody dubbed IgE treats them like dangerous invaders. This in turn triggers the release of histamines and other chemicals that cause the trademark allergic responses of sneezing, coughing, congestion, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases, it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks and even death. There are presently no cures for allergies.
The best way to cope with the allergy season is to avoid your allergen triggers. That may mean staying inside during peak pollen periods (early morning and late afternoon), shutting windows and increasing the air conditioner, and using the clothes dryer so allergens can be filtered out instead of hanging clothes outside where they’ll come in contact with more of them.
There are medicines that help control symptoms.

About 60 percent of all asthma cases are also caused by allergens. But there are other forms and triggers, including exercise-induced and non-allergic asthma triggered by infection, cold or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Asthma is one of the country’s most common and costly diseases with more American’s than ever saying they suffer from it. Asthma causes breathing problems that affect a person’s quality of life and that can be life threatening if not treated. Doctors are not certain how you get asthma.
Some people are not aware they have asthma because they have gradually experienced symptoms they believed were caused by other problems. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath or breathlessness, coughing and chest tightness.
Asthma attacks may start suddenly or they may take days to develop. Attacks can be severe, moderate or mild.
It is essential that a physician determine the severity of each person’s asthma to develop the treatment. Often the most effective and fastest way to bring asthma under control is to reduce exposure to whatever triggers the asthma.
Asthma has a genetic component, which means that if one parent has asthma, chances are one in three that each child will have asthma. If both parents have asthma, it is much more likely (seven in 10) that their children will have asthma.
Like allergies, there is no cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed with proper prevention and treatment. Treatment consists of medicines that keep the air tubes in your lungs open and can include sprays, pills, powders, liquids and shots.
May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month and it’s the time to take care of yourself by avoiding those things that trigger these diseases.
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