Tips for managing asthma and allergies this spring
By Heather Wesolowski
May is Asthma Awareness Month, and also a time of year that seasonal allergies hit many Washingtonians. Families, especially those managing respiratory conditions and allergies, can take simple steps to improve their health while enjoying the spring season.
Pollens and outdoor allergens increase during Washington’s spring and summer seasons. Your family can reduce the amount of allergens and other contaminants from entering your home by adopting a shoes-off policy. Set up a basket or rack by the door to keep shoes organized and out of the house. Placing a doormat at each doorway can also reduce the amount of debris entering your house.
Check your home’s furnace filters at least every three months or more to ensure the circulating air has been cleared of major particles. Maintaining a properly working furnace may also help reduce utility bills as your furnace will run more efficiently.
Wearing sunglasses and hats outdoors will block some air-borne pollens from irritating sensitive individuals. Also consider changing clothes after being exposed to high pollen levels, such as spending a day at the park or working in the yard.
Many websites, including Pollen.com, offer email alerts for pollen counts in the area. You and your family can sign up to get notified of high pollen counts for your specific area. If pollen counts are high, leave the windows in your home and cars closed to minimize the amount of pollen affecting the indoor air quality.
Individuals with allergies, asthma or other respiratory concerns need to take all their prescribed medications, even on days without symptoms. Asthma Awareness Month can be a great time to check expiration dates on medication and any associated medical equipment. Families should call their providers as soon as possible with any questions or requests to change medications.
For more information on steps your family can take to reduce allergy or asthma symptoms, please contact the Clean Air for Kids program at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network at 253-403-3237. Free home visits and resources are available for those struggling with poorly controlled conditions.
Heather Wesolowski is an Asthma Outreach Health Educator for the Clean Air for Kids program at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network.