How to make it through Memorial Day with allergies or asthma

Keep windows closed and A/C on; avoid going outside when pollen count is high

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Allergies are known to peak around Memorial Day in many parts of the country.

So, for people heading out to a parade or picnic it’s important to be prepared – especially if they have asthma.

Cleveland Clinic’s Sumita Khatri, M.D. said people with asthma need to be careful about what they do this time of year because allergy symptoms often make asthma worse.

“Itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy ears; tickle in the throat begin and then very soon, if you have a predisposition to asthma, you get the symptoms of chest tightness, coughing, wheezing and then you know that the asthma is flared,” she said.

Dr. Khatri said prevention is key to avoiding springtime asthma flares.

She recommends talking to a doctor about an asthma action plan – where asthma medications may be taken early to keep symptoms under control once pollen starts to fly. 

Planning ahead and taking an allergy medication in advance of outdoor plans can help as well. 

Controlling environmental triggers is important too.

Dr. Khatri suggests only planning outdoor activities when pollen levels are low, keeping windows closed, and turning air conditioning on. 

If there is no choice but to be outdoors, she recommends rinsing pollen off once inside.

“If you’re going to be outside, shower when you come back and definitely shower before going to bed,” she said. 

Dr. Khatri recommends checking weather apps or websites for information on pollen counts in order to prepare and take any necessary medications before heading out the door. 

“If I could sum it up, it would be anticipate the season and manage the asthma preventively,” said Dr. Khatri.