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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (January 19, 2016) – While we often think of over-the-top gifts on Valentine’s Day, the true romantic can make a huge hit just by keeping a sweetheart’s allergies and asthma in mind when making plans for February 14.
“Little gestures are important and appreciated,” says allergist Bryan Martin, DO, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Let your loved one know you’re paying attention to their health as well as to romance. After all, what good are a dozen roses for the sweetheart who is too stuffed up to smell them? Help your valentine sleep, breathe and better appreciate the taste of that romantic dinner for two. That might even outshine a dozen roses!”
Following are five tips from ACAAI for this Valentine’s Day:
Dial back the perfume or cologne - Some people have a response to strong fragrances. It is generally a reaction to odors created by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause headaches, sneezing, watery eyes and runny noses. If your loved one doesn’t wear perfume, it’s probably for a reason, and a gift you should avoid this year. And you shouldn’t wear fragrance either.
Where there’s smoke, there’s coughing and wheezing – You may think a fire is romantic, but your loved one could find the smoke makes it hard to breathe. Smoke is a common asthma trigger, and can make someone with asthma uncomfortable. (Switch on an LED candle instead!) Also, don’t subject your loved one to second-hand smoke from cigarettes. Studies have linked secondhand smoke exposure with increased asthma prevalence, poorer asthma control and increased symptoms.
Provide a relaxing (and romantic) environment – Helping your loved one relax could actually help relieve their allergies. A recent study showed stress can create several negative effects on the body, including causing more symptoms for allergy sufferers. Think about scheduling a massage for your loved one, or give one yourself. Ahhh.
Cook a healthy meal: Cook up romance – A healthy diet is important for managing both allergies and asthma. You’ll want to take food allergies into account, of course, and steer clear of anything that might cause your loved one to have a reaction. Valentine’s Day isn’t the time to add new, untested ingredients to your culinary repertoire. And because obesity is associated with more severe asthma, a meal that doesn’t go over the top calorie-wise is a good choice.
Sweep your valentine off his or her feet by picking up a broom – It won’t cost you a dime, and it could have a big payoff. Those who are allergic to dust mites, mold, cockroaches and pets suffer when the house isn’t clean. You can get a head start on cleaning the house by changing your air filters every three months and using filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Also be sure to vacuum regularly to get rid of dust mites. Use a cyclonic vacuum, which spins dust and dirt away from the floor, or a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. Wash bedding and stuffed animals weekly, and scrub bathrooms to get rid of mold. For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and asthma, or to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.