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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 15, 2011) Summertime means outdoor fun at weddings, festivals and picnics. But uninvited guests ranging from stinging insects to grass pollen can ruin the fun for the millions of Americans with allergies and asthma.

Allergies and asthma can lead to sneezing, wheezing and itchy misery and sometimes more serious reactions turning a joyous occasion into agony.

By planning ahead, people with allergies can still enjoy outdoor events, said Dr. Myron Zitt, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and its allergist members suggest following a few simple tips to make summer soirees more enjoyable:

  1. Treat before you go. Take allergy medication before walking out the door. If you wait until symptoms kick in, the medication won't be nearly as effective. Go undercover. Big, wrap-around sunglasses help keep pollen from getting into your eyes.
  2. Avoid bees. If you re allergic to bees or other stinging insects, avoidance is your best bet. Keep your distance from uncovered food, be cautious of open soft drink cans and resist wearing bright clothing or perfume, all of which attract bees. If someone near you gets stung, move away some bees give off a chemical after they sting that can attract other stinging insects.
  3. Be cautious at the food table. Avoid foods in which nuts, dairy and other common allergens can be lurking, such as mixed salads, barbecue sauces and salad dressings. If grilling is involved, have your portion cooked on aluminum foil to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
  4. Stick to the middle. Poison ivy can lurk in bushes and other foliage, so stay in open areas where you re less likely to brush up against it.
  5. Pay attention to Ozone Alerts. High temperatures mixed with pollution can pose a problem for people with asthma. Carry a quick relief inhaler.

Allergists have expertise to select the most effective treatment options and also can determine if you should consider allergy shots (immunotherapy) which are effective for seasonal and stinging insect allergies. The treatment involves periodic injections with tiny amounts of an allergen so that your reactions become milder or disappear completely curing your allergy. Allergy shots also can help prevent the development of asthma. Find an allergist near you.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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