Chirping birds, flowers and warmer weather are not the only things that occur in the spring. For one out of five Americans, spring also brings sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and coughing. While there is no cure for allergies, there are precautions individuals can take to avoid symptoms.
“Allergy relief can sometimes be as simple as cleaning your home,” said Jason Bellak, MD, board certified allergist at Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics. “Frequent vacuuming, dusting and washing upholstery helps remove pet dander and other allergens. Once you clean up pet dander, make sure your pet stays out of your bedroom so that you can sleep symptom free."
Another common allergen is mold. It’s important to clean up existing mold and prevent it from reoccurring in the future. The key to reducing mold is moisture control. Bathrooms and basements are especially prone to mold. Use bathroom fans and clean up standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water and make sure the area is completely dry. You can help ward off mold by keeping your home’s humidity below 60 percent.
“When you’re finished cleaning, take steps to prevent outside allergens from entering your home,” said Dr. Bellak. “Keep your windows closed to prevent unwanted pollen particles from entering. When mowing or gardening, be sure to wear gloves and a N95 particulate pollen mask and take your allergy medication before you go outside. Avoid touching your eyes and be sure to wash your hands, hair and clothing once you go back indoors so that you do not bring allergens into your home. Avoid going outside during the mid-day and afternoon hours when pollen counts are highest.”
“Even when you reduce the number of allergens in your home, allergy symptoms can still be bothersome,” said Dr. Bellak. “You must treat your allergies according to your symptoms. While some people may be able to treat mild allergies with over-the-counter medications, many others benefit from seeing a board certified allergist. An allergist can diagnose exactly what you are allergic to and create a personalized treatment plan to eliminate symptoms.”
Treatment and management of allergic disorders of adults and children is available through Dr. Bellak at Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics. This includes hay fever, asthma, allergies to foods, stinging insects and drugs, skin rashes (including eczema and hives), sinus problems, immunodeficiency disorders and some autoimmune diseases. Skin testing is available for airborne, food and penicillin allergies and lung function testing for asthma, chronic cough and allergic breathing conditions. Treatment options include medications, allergy shots (immunotherapy) and new oral immunotherapy options for grass and ragweed allergies.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bellak at Moundview, please call (608) 339-8494 or ask your provider for a referral. Dr. Bellak will work closely with your primary care provider to assure your allergies and/or asthma is in control.