If you’re one of the 50 million Americans with asthma or allergies, 2024 is another year to redouble efforts to manage them.
“It’s not always easy to get allergies and asthma under control,” allergist Dr. Gailen Marshall, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), said in a tip sheet from the organization. “The new year is a great time to take stock of how you’re feeling and assess what kind of changes you might want to make to feel better overall. They might be small changes, which taken together, can mean big improvements in how you navigate your day.”
He and the ACAAI offered up a handful of ways you can handle things.
Top 5 Resolutions:
1) Update your prescriptions: What worked last year to keep your allergies at bay might not be working by next year: Check in with your board-certified allergist or asthma specialist to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest meds, the ACAAI said.
2) Ward off respiratory viruses: Folks with asthma and allergies can be at high risk for a lot of germs that hamper breathing, the ACAAI said. Be sure to get up-to-date on your seasonal flu shot, the COVID-19 vaccine and the newly approved respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot. The very young and the very old face even higher risks.
3) Keep your mind healthy: A stressed mind and body can trigger or exacerbate the symptoms of asthma or allergies, so staying calm is part of your defense. The ACAAI recommends playing any music you love, engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy and downloading a meditation app to use at bedtime, for example.
4) Don’t wait for spring to spring-clean: Allergens like mold and dust mites and can collect in your home over time, and the new year is a great time to think about getting new carpets, drapes or furnishings. Can’t afford that? Even getting a professional deep-clean to your home can help reduce allergens, the ACAAI said. Getting yourself a HEPA vacuum cleaning system might also help.
5) Get active: Exercise is important to overall health, including fortifying the body against asthma and allergies. The ACAAI notes, however, that your allergist might urge you to use a pre-exercise asthma medicine (such as an inhaled bronchodilator) before exercising. Cold or windy outside? Indoor yoga, along with deep-breathing exercises, can help with asthma symptoms. And if you do exercise outside, be sure to wear a mask or loose scarf over your mouth, the experts said.
Find out more about asthma and allergies at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, tip sheet, Dec. 14, 2023
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