A Guide to Surviving Allergy Season: NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Offers Hints & Tips for Those Affected by Allergies
Every spring, trees and plants release pollen into the air to fertilize other plants. The released pollen can potentially enter an individual’s nasal passages and trigger an immune response. This process affects millions of Americans and is commonly referred to as “having allergies.”
“Allergies affect millions in the U.S., and while is there no way to avoid irritants like pollen entirely, there are simple solutions to mitigate allergic reactions,” explains Joseph T. Cooke, M.D., chairman, Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “As winter evolves into spring, sometimes it just makes sense to stay indoors.”
Dr. Cooke adds, “Allergy sufferers should pay attention to the pollen index, use vacuums designed to better pick up common irritants, and close their windows when the pollen count is high.”
Physicians with the NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Division of Allergy and Immunology, led by Dr. Stanley Fine, offer the following tips to help those potentially suffering from allergies:
- Check the pollen index. Pollen counts are regularly reported by weather and news agencies. Get in the helpful habit of checking these pollen counts daily. When the pollen count is high, consider limiting your outdoor exposure.
- Use natural remedies with caution. Herbal or natural remedies may work, but the word “natural” on a label does not necessarily mean an over-the-counter treatment is helpful. In fact, it may prove to be harmful.
- Select the right vacuum. A vacuum with HEPA-filtration technology can help remove irritants from the home. This may help reduce the chance of breathing in pollen or other irritants.
- Opt for the air conditioner. Fresh air in the home after the winter season seems nice, but for those with allergies, it might not be practical. If the pollen count is high, close your windows and consider turning on the air conditioning.
- Keep extra clean. During spring season, be extra diligent about personal hygiene, washing your clothes and cleaning up the house. Even with the windows closed, our clothes, hair and body will bring irritants into the home.
- Use anti-histamines two hours prior to sustained outdoor activity. If pollen counts are high, and you cannot avoid staying outdoors, use anti-histamines two hours prior to outdoor activities to reduce allergy symptoms.
- Know when pollen counts are the highest. Pollen counts tend to be the highest during midday hours. Try to schedule usual outdoor activities and exercise in the morning or late afternoon.
- Make an appointment with your doctor. Do not assume that pollen is the trigger causing an allergy, there multiple other causes for allergy.
- Consider nasal rinses. Rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution can reduce nasal congestion and drainage throughout the day.
- Change the filters in your house regularly. Air filters are often hard to reach, but can make a big difference in air quality. Make sure you’re changing out your air and furnace filters as recommended to reduce irritants in your home.
NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties. Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually. For more information, visit nyp.org/queens
Jenna Bouffard 212-843-9379 [email protected]