December 14, 2023
A few tweaks can help make 2024 better for your asthma and allergies
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Dec. 14, 2023) – About 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergic conditions. That’s a whole lot of New Year’s resolutions coming down the pike for those looking to get their allergy and asthma symptoms under control.
“It’s not always easy to get allergies and asthma under control,” says allergist Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “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.”
Following are five New Year’s resolutions from ACAAI that people who suffer from allergies or asthma may want to consider.
- New year, new…prescriptions? – Has it been a while since you or your child had a visit with your allergist? Covid knocked things off track, but it’s probably time to make an appointment again. Make sure all medications are current, and that your prescriptions are working. A board-certified allergist can develop a plan tailored to your allergies and asthma to help you lead the life you want. The new year is the perfect time to check in with your allergist if you haven’t seen them recently. ACAAI has an allergist locator to help you find an allergist near you.
- Keep all respiratory viruses at bay – Those who suffer from asthma need to be particularly careful this time of year, as respiratory viruses like the flu can be dangerous. If you are in a high-risk group, consider getting not only the flu and Covid vaccines, but the vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) as well. Infants, particularly those born prematurely, and older adults with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions are at the greatest risk for severe RSV infections. The consequences of RSV can range from mild respiratory distress to more serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchiolitis, making prevention essential to safeguarding public health.
- Pay attention to your mental health – The stronger your emotional health, the better your body will feel and the more efficient you’ll be at staying healthy. Studies have shown stress can cause negative health effects, including more symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. Try calming therapies to improve symptoms. Consider downloading a meditation or relaxation app to use at night before bed. Soothing music can be beneficial, as can doing activities you enjoy that lift your spirit.
- Give your home a healthy makeover – The new year is a great time to think about getting rid of old carpets, curtains and drapes, all of which can harbor dust mite allergens. If you aren’t in the market for new furnishings, you may want to have your current set professionally cleaned. If you have increased allergy symptoms in dusty/musty areas of your home, especially when you vacuum or dust, investing in a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaning system may be useful to you.
- Yes, you still need to exercise – You hear it a lot this time of year, but exercise really is important to overall health. If you have asthma, your allergist may recommend that you use your pre-exercise asthma medicine (generally, your inhaled bronchodilator) before beginning exercise. Consider warm-up exercises and have a good cool-down period after your workout. If it’s cold and windy outside, try an indoor workout or wear a mask or loose scarf over your nose and mouth. Yoga may be a great addition to your workout. Studies have shown that deep breathing practices can help with asthma symptoms.
If you think you or your child might have allergies or asthma, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. An allergist can help you take control and live your best life. To locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
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, Instagram, and Twitter/X.