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Asthma, Allergies, and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Asthma, Allergies, and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

With the unprecedented spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the world is facing a whole new set of challenges. People with asthma and allergies are especially worried as they fear their condition puts them at higher risk of developing symptoms if exposed to the virus. They are also afraid that their current symptoms will become much worse.

There are still a lot of questions about COVID-19; however, by following the recommended guidelines, you will be able to protect yourself and your loved ones and manage your asthma or allergies more effectively even amidst the new pandemic. We created this short article to help keep you healthy and safe.

Is it COVID-19, Asthma, or a Seasonal Allergy? 

The first thing to remember is that you must always monitor your symptoms carefully. Allergies often cause sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and nasal congestion. These symptoms AREN’T typically caused by COVID-19 (a runny or stuffy nose is rare).

Coughing, wheezing, and asthma flare-ups may occur in both allergic asthma, and COVID-19 so don’t disregard these symptoms. Other symptoms include weakness, aches and pains, and, occasionally, diarrhea. Check your temperature regularly- the presence of fever is a common occurrence in the coronavirus disease as well as the flu. If you notice symptoms not typical to your allergy or asthma, contact your doctor.

COVID-19 and Asthma Exacerbation

Respiratory viruses, including influenza and rhinovirus, are known to make asthma symptoms worse. At the moment, scientists don’t know if the coronavirus is one of those viruses that can cause more severe asthma symptoms. There are also no clear indications that asthmatic individuals have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, asthma is one of the pre-existing conditions that could complicate COVID-19 symptoms further, so you should do everything you can to keep your symptoms in check and your immune system strong.

Recommendations For Asthma and Allergy Patients

Don’t neglect to follow CDC guidelines; make sure you have enough supplies at home to last you 14-30 days. Practice frequent hand-washing, social-distancing, and crowd avoidance. Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary and, if you do, take all the recommended travel precautions. You should also clean your home using a disinfectant, paying close attention to objects and surfaces that you or others often touch.

There is no evidence that allergy and asthma medications increase the risk of being infected by COVID-19, so you must keep taking your medicine and follow your Asthma Action Plan if you have one. This time of year, increased levels of pollen can make symptoms much worse, so if you feel that you can’t control your asthma or allergy, contact your allergist immediately. Together you will be able to adjust your treatment and update your action plan.

COVID-19 is a new enemy, and we still don’t know everything about it. Nevertheless, when it comes to health and disease prevention, you cannot err on the side of caution. So, if you have unaddressed asthma or severe allergy, don’t delay contacting an allergist, getting tested, and start on a treatment plan to manage your symptoms, protect yourself, and improve your health and life.

Further Reading

“Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know”. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. community.aafa.org/blog/coronavirus-2019-ncov-flu-what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know.

“COVID-19 and Asthma: What You Need to Know Moving Forward”. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. acaai.org/news/covid-19-and-asthma-what-you-need-know-moving-forward.

“Start off 2020 With a New Awareness for Every Season This Year!: Vital Asthma Warning Signs for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter”. allergyarizona.net/asthma-warning-signs-during-any-seasons/.

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Do I Need a Home Humidifier/Dehumidifier?

Do I Need a Home Humidifier/Dehumidifier?

To most people, a home humidifier, or dehumidifier, is something they pull out only when the air is dry, and are not taking advantage of all the benefits these small appliances can do for us! Why don’t more people use them?

  • It is because many people are not entirely familiar with the purpose these little, but powerful appliances can serve for the sinus, cold and allergy sufferer
  • Nor do they understand the real difference between the two.

Simply put, a humidifier adds moisture to the air and a dehumidifier removes it. When used correctly, these two devices can have a profound effect on one’s health and even their energy bill.

Why use a Humidifier?

This contraption adds moisture to the air in a room or space. They can be purchased in a range of brands and sizes. Small ones may treat a room and larger systems can treat an entire house, depending on the need. A humidifier is great for colds, congestion, and even allergies. Increasing the moisture in the air helps ease these symptoms and balance out dryer conditions that may exacerbate the problem.

What is a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier lowers the moisture level in a given area. Like their counterparts, they come in many different sizes and price points. A dehumidifier can help control energy costs, cut down on odors, and help reduce Phoenix area allergens such as mildew. If ventilation is an issue in a room or space such as a basement, a dehumidifier just may be the answer.

How should I use them?

There is an optimal humidity level for comfortable, healthy living. The climate outside and ventilation in a living space can negatively affect these humidity levels. If a family member is experiencing health issues or the ventilation in an area is not ideal, it may be time to consider a humidifier or dehumidifier.

humidifier benefits

The outside climate and the living space will determine which machine will benefit you and your family. Just remember that these machines should be kept clean in order to experience the best results.

We suggest that you talk to your doctor the next time you or your child experiences cold or allergy symptoms so a specialist can tell you the optimal levels so you and your family feel better!

If you’re suffering from allergies, we can help. Our allergy doctors have helped thousands of patients in Arizona breathe a little easier. You deserve to live a life that is free of allergies!  Contact us today at 602-242-4592, or book an appointment online to schedule an appointment at one of our 5 valley-wide locations.

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Desert Plants Causing Havoc for Arizona Allergy Suffers

Desert Plants Causing Havoc for Arizona Allergy Suffers

While many people move to a desert area to find relief from their allergies, a desert environment might actually trigger allergies. In fact, at least a third of those who live in the Phoenix area experience some level of what is commonly known as “hay fever.” Hay fever means your body is reacting to pollens or mold of some type, and these reactions can take the form of sneezing, watery eyes and nose, congestion or itchiness.

Ragweed Allergies PhoenixRagweed is one of the most common allergy-inducing plants across the United States and Phoenix has over a dozen native species of ragweed.

Ragweed is a perennial weed (in other words- it will affect allergy sufferers who have problems with it YEAR-ROUND)! Contact with the ragweed pollen can lead to coughing, wheezing, swollen eyelids, itchy eyes, itchy throat and ears, sneezing, hives and other rashes.

Other trees in the state of Arizona which could potentially lead to Hay fever include:

  • Russian Thistle is a tumbleweed which many people are sensitive to, causing skin rashes and other allergic reactions following exposure
  • African Sumac is a tree which can cause unrelenting sneezing among many people in the area.
  • Feather Palm and Desert Fan Palm—like many palm trees, both the feather palm and the desert fan palm shed an immense amount of pollen which can lead to serious allergy symptoms.
  • Cottonwood tree allergies are not as common as you might think with all the cottony fluff which falls from the trees each year, however those who are allergic to cottonwoods are typically very allergic—and may also be allergic to willows as well.
  • Desert Broom grows in disturbed soil; the cotton-like seed plumes fly away in the wind, causing allergies among many.
  • Arizona Sycamore is a tree which is typically considered a moderate allergen, although some people will react more strongly to the sycamore pollens.
  • Chinese Elm allergies are caused by the pollen which is carried by the wind in the fall months. Chinese elm pollen is considered a moderate allergen.
  • Arizona Ash will typically cause allergic reactions among those who are also sensitive to Olive tree pollen.
  • Arizona Sycamore trees flower between March and June, and are often seen in Arizona parks and streets. Similar to the California Sycamore, the Arizona Sycamore causes allergic reactions among some residents.
  • Hackberry can cause allergic reactions among those who are close in proximity and who have continued exposure. While Hackberry is in the same family as elm (very allergenic), it does not cause the extreme level of allergies among most people.
  • Juniper trees are a common source of allergies due to the pollen they create and those with Juniper allergies are also likely to be allergic to Cedar and Cypress tree pollen.
  • Mesquite is a serious offender in the southwest, producing considerable levels of airborne pollen. Those with Mesquite allergies may suffer from nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, sneezing, scratchy throats, contact dermatitis and even asthma.
  • Bermuda grass, while well-suited to the Arizona desert, is a more significant allergen than most other grasses, causing itchy eyes, runny noses and sneezing.

And other common allergens found in Phoenix

Because many parts of Arizona are dry, receiving little rain, dust is a given. During certain times, especially during our monsoon season (usually June through August),Phoenix area residents experience severe dust storms and dust devils, and they are on the rise.

pollen allergies

For those with allergies, desert dust is never good news, as it has an effect on respiratory systems, causing coughing, wheezing and watery, itchy eyes. Air pollution can also be a problem, particularly for those who live in the Phoenix metro area, which sits in a valley, allowing the pollutants to just hang around.

Contact Our Phoenix Allergy Specialists

If you’re suffering from allergies, we can help. Our allergy doctors have helped thousands of patients in Arizona breathe a little easier. You deserve to live a life that is free of allergy attacks. Find an allergy and asthma clinic near you.

We serve patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Avondale, and Anthem. Call today at 602-242-4592, or book an appointment immediately online here!

See also related article about top allergens in the Valley:

High Desert Asthma and Allergies- Advice from Asthma Specialists

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Does Your Child Get Enough Sleep?

Does Your Child Get Enough Sleep?

Children of all ages need adequate sleep for proper growth and development. When they consistently don’t get enough sleep, kids display more problem behavior, do worse in school, and get sick more often due to a weakened immune system. Since the sleep habits that a child develops by age 5 will carry through to adulthood, it’s essential to develop healthy habits early in life.

Are your child getting enough sleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a 2015 report that infants need 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day. Recommendations for other age groups include:

  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers: 11 to 12 hours
  • Elementary students: 10 hours
  • Teenagers: 9 hours
  • Adults can typically function well on 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night

Teaching Your Child Good Sleep Habits

The younger the child, the more you may battle him or her to go to bed each night. Just when you need some time to yourself, your child starts whining, throws a tantrum, or tries one stalling technique after another to avoid hitting the hay. It seems like most kids fear they’re going to miss something exciting by going to bed. They’re also too young to appreciate that a good night’s sleep is necessary for physical and emotional health.

Creating a nighttime routine and sticking to it helps your child learn what you expect when it’s time for bed. That doesn’t mean he or she won’t fight you on it, but consistency pays off eventually. For a preschool-aged child, the routine could include taking a bath, brushing teeth, getting into pajamas, and reading a story with you. Children who are afraid of the dark do better with a nightlight in their room. After completing the bedtime routine, give your child a kiss goodnight and leave the room despite any protests.

Sleeping Independently is the Goal

Children of preschool age and younger naturally need their parents to help them follow a bedtime routine. Once they get older than that, you can make it a goal to have them get ready and go to bed with minimal prompting from you. That may not happen every night, so be sure to praise any efforts towards independence that your child displays. Your praise sends a message to your child that you believe he or she can do it. Since most kids delight in pleasing their parents, your child will feel eager to show you again the next night how grownup he or she is becoming.

Don’t be afraid to speak to your pediatrician if sleep continues to be a battle at your house despite your best efforts. Your child’s doctor could have some ideas that you might have never considered.

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Five Fruits That Will Increase Your Nutrient Intake

A variety of fruits is important to your diet if you want to benefit from as many nutrients as you can. Not only will they help you stay trim, but also fruit can help you stay much healthier, and prevent colds. While many offer similar nutrients, they each have their own unique vitamins and minerals. Here are five fruits you should incorporate into your diet.

Stay much healthier with fruits

  1. Blackberries

Blackberries might be small, but they are packed with nutrients. They are a source of vitamins C and K as well as fiber, flavanols, magnesium, antioxidants, and manganese. Antioxidants help to protect the body against cancers by fighting free radicals that damage cells. Magnesium helps to produce energy, prevent migraines, and calm nerves. Vitamin C plays many roles in the body. It keeps skin looking young and healthy. It promotes eye health and strengthens the immune system. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron and heal wounds.

  1. Pineapple

Pineapple is a source of vitamins C, B1 (thiamin), and B6, and manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and bromelain. B6 helps to improve mood, support brain function, and help to treat anemia. Copper is a trace mineral that is especially important to the liver, kidneys, and brain. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce swelling in the body. Swelling can lead to pain, arthritis, and even ulcers.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are helpful for improving mood. They contain tryptophan, which converts to serotonin. Serotonin helps to fights depression and anxiety and reduce mood changes. Bananas also contain vitamins A and B6, potassium, and antioxidants. Vitamin A plays a role in eye health. It helps to improve night vision and prevent macular degeneration. Potassium is important in producing energy, reducing blood pressure, preventing stroke, and provide water balance.

  1. Pears

Pears are a good source of folate, boron, magnesium, and vitamins K and C. Boron is a mineral that plays a role in estrogen production, bone health, and prevention of arthritis. Folate (also known as folic acid and B9) is important for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. A deficiency in folate may cause grey hair and fatigue. Vitamin K plays an important role in helping wounds to heal. It also helps to transport calcium throughout the body.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the most nutritious berries you can eat. They might be tiny, but their benefits are not. Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Blueberries may also play a role in lowering blood pressure, preventing heart disease, slowing the aging process, and improving brain function. They contain fibre, manganese, and vitamins C and K. Blueberries also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for protecting the eyes from macular degeneration.

Adding a variety of fruits to your diet will increase the amount of nutrients your body receives. This will improve your health and help to prevent illness and disease, and hopefully be another prevention against allergies!

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