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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Takeaways from National Allergy and Asthma Month

Now that almost every disease and affliction has its “month” to promote awareness and help people become educated about the difficulties and dangers of diseases and conditions, it is easy to become jaded or even ignore the ongoing public health education efforts.

Yet National Allergy and Asthma Month offers some valuable “takeaways” that every person with allergies or asthma––the two conditions are often related, for example––should know about.

May is just the tip of the iceberg

Of course the reason National Allergy and Asthma Month is held in May each year is that spring create peak conditions for those who have allergies or asthma. Spring fever is not just an expression related to students made lazy by warming spring weather. No matter where you live, the onset of pollen season has been creeping further forward in the calendar. In 2012 hot March weather forced fruit trees and other pollen generating plants to bloom resulting in a quick onset of allergies for people who usually don’t feel the effects until late April through May.

The rules no longer apply

Despite claims to the contrary, these changing seasonal afflictions are easily tracked and trends are better documented than ever before. So while the month of May is still a great time to focus on allergies and asthma, a greater awareness of pollen and allergen conditions in general is the goal, and the rules by which many allergy sufferers once used to play may no longer be applicable.

Allergies are not a “single source” problem

Pollens and molds are certainly not the only airborne particulates that reach the nose and lungs of people with allergy and asthma. Fungal infections are also dangerous, and dust mites are a year-round problem for allergy-prone people. Dust mites live in the sheets and blankets where you sleep, and without precautionary measures can become a chronic, even dangerous health problem to people with allergies.

Allergy and asthma control need a strategy

One of the most important aspects of treating allergies and asthma is having a strategy to combat the health problems caused by each condition. As auto-immune reactions, allergies and asthma are essentially the body’s over-reaction to adverse stimulants introduced through airborne particulates, chemical reactions or other types of contact. That means an effective strategy needs two phases, prevention and treatment.

Allergy and asthma prevention can take many forms, the most important being removal of allergens from the air or by preventing inhalation or contact with potential allergens.

Learning health tips about allergy control is a great start. Knowing how to manage simple things like pet dander around the home, how to exercise with allergies and asthma and learning ways to take care of mold problems are all vital steps in developing a strategy for prevention and ultimate treatment for allergies and asthma.

The takeaways from National Allergy and Asthma month are actually all about yearlong awareness of the conditions that lead to challenging health problems. In other words, you May or may not be able to absolutely control your asthma and allergies year-round, but knowing the causes and preventions can make life a lot more tolerable. Having the right strategy might even let you enjoy the month of May rather than dread its arrival, and the heavy onset of allergies and asthma each year.

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