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Seven Allergy Management Mistakes and How to Correct Them

Spring is here! …Are you sneezing yet?

While spring means warmer weather and more time spent outdoors, it also brings along pollen and other allergy triggers that cause symptoms like sneezing, coughing, congestion, and red, itchy eyes. These and other symptoms are enough to make most allergy sufferers want to hide away indoors, which is why an allergy management plan is so important. Even if you are actively managing your allergies there might be things you’re unknowingly doing that make your symptoms worse.

Here are seven of the most common mistakes people make when managing their allergies, and how you can avoid them:

Improper cleaning techniques.
Cleaning your home is an effective way to reduce allergens, but there are a few mistakes that many people make. For example, using scented cleaners or cleaning products with strong fragrances could aggravate your symptoms. Wear a mask while you clean to avoid breathing in allergens that have been stirred up into the air and leave the house for a few hours after you finish cleaning. (Use a damp cloth to better trap dust and other allergens that get kicked up into the air.)

Leaving windows open.
We understand the desire for fresh air, but opening your windows allows pollen to enter your home. Turn on the air conditioning instead if it is hot outside, and make sure your air filter is clean.

Waiting too long to take your medication.
Don’t wait until your symptoms are bothering you to take your medication. Your allergy medication tends to be more effective at preventing symptoms rather than treating them.

Not communicating effectively.
Don’t feel shy about your allergy. If you’ll be attending a party or another event and will need the host to accommodate your allergy, let them know in advance. You should also become more comfortable with communicating the details of your allergy to chefs and restaurant wait staff.

Additionally, you should be open and honest about your symptoms when speaking with your doctor. You may find it useful to keep a diary of your symptoms and discussing it at your next appointment.

Not paying attention to pollen counts.
By knowing the day’s pollen count you will be better able to plan your daily activities. For example, pollen counts are highest in the morning so it’s best to avoid outdoor exercise at that time. By knowing the pollen numbers for the day you’ll be able to minimize your exposure and thereby lessen your symptoms.

Keeping allergen magnets in your home.
Yes, stuffed animals are cute and your down comforter is cozy, but they are also great at collecting allergens. Upholstered furniture and rugs are also allergen magnets. Replacing or removing items like these from your home will help reduce your exposure to allergens.

Allowing pets in your bed.
Even if you don’t have pet allergies, letting your pet into your bedroom and on your bed can be a mistake because they can bring in allergens like pollen, dust, mold and others. It’s better to make your bedroom an allergen- and pet-free area. (You should also know that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. While some breeds may be less allergy-inducing than others, any animal with fur has the potential to cause symptoms.) For more on pet allergies, check out this Buzzfeed article with common questions answered by our very own Dr. Mainardi.

Do you have questions about managing your allergies? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at info@hudsonallergy.com.

Common Spring Allergy Triggers and How to Avoid Them

For many New Yorkers, spring just means warmer weather and beautiful flowers in bloom. However for the 19.1 million adults with hay fever, it also means sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, runny nose, and other irritating symptoms.

Every spring, trees and grasses release pollen grains into the air. These grains are light enough that they can travel in the wind. Flower pollen, on the other hand, is heavier and falls to the ground, and is therefore less likely to cause allergy symptoms. If flower pollen isn’t the cause of your symptoms, what is? Here are a few spring allergy triggers:

Tree Pollen: This includes pollen from tree varieties such as ash, beech, birch, cedar, cottonwood, elm, hickory, juniper, maple, mulberry, oak, pine, poplar, and willow, among others. Pollen can travel in the air for miles, so even if you don’t have trees in your neighborhood, their pollen can still affect you.

Grass Pollen: The grass pollens that can trigger the symptoms of spring allergies include Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, Johnson grass, rye grass, and orchard grass, among others. Typically in NYC, grass pollens make their way into the environment towards the end of the spring, and become the more predominant pollen in the summer.

Are you prepared to deal with spring allergies this year? Here are a few tips from Hudson Allergy on avoiding exposure to allergens and managing your symptoms:

Know when allergy season starts. Spring allergy season can begin as early as February if the weather is warm enough. Don’t wait until the middle of April to begin thinking about how to treat your symptoms. Make an appointment with your allergist and start treating spring allergy symptoms before they start.

See what’s in the air. Download a pollen tracker app. This app will help you keep track of pollen levels in New York and let you see what times of day are best for outdoor activities.

Limit your time outdoors. Staying inside on days with high pollen counts can help you avoid your allergy triggers. Unfortunately, this may mean avoiding some of your daily activities or turning down a few invitations to backyard BBQs.

Be aware of cross-reactions. Cross-reactivity happens when proteins in one substance are similar to proteins in another. For example, if you are allergic to birch pollen, you may also have a reaction to apples. Such a reaction is known as oral allergy syndrome.

Make time for spring cleaning. Regularly cleaning and vacuuming your home can help you eliminate allergens from your living space. You’ll want to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to trap symptom-causing particles. In addition to cleaning, you can also make a few other changes to your home, such as keeping windows shut and using an air conditioner to keep cool.

Are you ready to deal with spring allergies? Our month-to-month guide helps you understand what might be triggering your symptoms during different times of the year. Don’t wait until symptoms are making you miserable to do something.

If you have any questions about managing your spring allergies, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! Feel free to give us a call at 212-729-1283 or email us at info@hudsonallergy.com.

Spring Allergies: What you need to know before your next BBQ

Sunshine has finally made a very welcome appearance in New York City, which means you’ll soon find invites to summer parties and barbecues piling up in your Facebook events inbox.

These parties mean mingling with old and new friends while chowing down on delicious picnic treats, but for those with food allergies or seasonal allergies, it can also mean the need to be vigilant. After accepting the invite, talk with your host to see what they have in store for the get together. If you have food allergies, consider offering to bring a dish or two of your own (which is a nice gesture and will also ensure there’s at least one thing you can feel confident eating). It’s always better to be informed so that you can prepare accordingly.

spring allergies

Here are four things to watch out for at your next spring party or summer BBQ in case you have spring allergies or food allergies:

Pollen & Grass

An outdoor party can mean you’ll be up close and personal with pollen, grasses, trees and other allergens. Prepare yourself for these possible triggers before you leave the house.  Consider bringing a blanket for those grass picnic situations and be sure to wash your hands after being outdoors. Another great tip is to make sure you change your clothes after being outdoors as they too could be covered in pollen just from being outside.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Have you ever noticed that if you eat a raw apple your lips break out in a rash or your throat itches a bit, however you don’t get any reaction if you eat a cooked apple pie? The mild allergic reaction that you may be experiencing is called oral allergy syndrome, which happens because the proteins in certain raw foods are similar to the allergy-causing proteins in pollen. For example, a person with a birch pollen allergy may also react to apples, celery, and raw peaches and pears. A ragweed allergy might mean you could react to watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melons.

Barbecue Sauce and Turkey Bacon

Some commercially produced barbecue sauces contain a fish product that could cause an allergic reaction. In addition, some people can even be allergic to the pollen produced by the wood most commonly used in barbecue – mesquite, oak, cedar and hickory. The allergens in the wood can remain in the smoke once the wood is burned, and this can transfer to your food.

For those of you who prefer healthy alternatives to bacon, beware of the hidden allergen that can be found in turkey bacon. Turkey bacon is commonly made with enzymes, and one in particular is called tTG, also known as meat glue. Be sure to check the label of the turkey bacon to see if it includes an ingredient called enzymes, as this could mean that they contain gluten.

Homemade Dishes & Desserts

As a rule of thumb, we always advise our patients to inform their family or friends about their allergies. And, the sooner you can inform your party host, the better. As you rake in summer picnic invitations make sure to eat with caution, especially if it wasn’t you who prepared the food.

That pasta salad may look delicious, but if you have a true allergy to wheat or you are gluten intolerant, it’s best to skip it. Pasta salad is an easily recognizable trigger, but other unidentified food options may present more of a problem.

Joan’s homemade, award-winning chili sauce might contain peanuts, or fish may be an ingredient in the salad dressing Bob whipped up for the party. When in doubt, ask about ingredients or skip the dish entirely.

The key to avoiding an allergic reaction at your next party is being aware of ingredients in the food you are around and staying mindful of the common triggers that come along with being outside. Don’t let you allergies ruin your good time!

If you suspect you have a food or seasonal allergy and want to be tested or have questions about other resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at info@hudsonallergy.com.