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Tips on how to reduce symptoms in allergy and asthma sufferers

CCACHC press release
Monday, May 9, 2011

CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire has one of the highest prevalence rates of asthma in the nation. According to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost nine percent of adults in the Granite State contend with asthma. Meanwhile, an estimated eight percent of New Hampshire children (or 23,000) currently have asthma.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 40 million Americans have indoor and outdoor allergies as their primary allergy. Allergies are also the fifth most common chronic health condition in the U.S. among all ages and the third most common chronic health condition among children under 18 years old.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. To honor this month, New Hampshire’s Council for Children & Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions collaborated with Lisa Stockwell, asthma program manager for Breathe New Hampshire, on tips for parents and caregivers of allergy and asthma sufferers.

  • Develop a comprehensive health plan with school personnel and licensed health care providers. This can include ensuring that prescribed medications be available to children at all times during the school day, particularly since many of the most powerful allergy and asthma triggers can be found in a classroom. The plan can also include detailed health information about a child’s condition, including triggers, medications, and what to do in an emergency.
  • Avoid exposure to the elements whenever possible. Limit early morning outdoor activities, as pollen counts are at their highest levels between 5 and 10 a.m. Take proper precautions before mowing grass and raking leaves, as both activities can stir up pollen and mold. Also, do not hang sheets or clothing out to dry, as pollen and mold may collect on them. Finally, if you have spent time outdoors, be certain to shower at night to rinse any irritants off your body.
  • Be mindful of indoor air quality. During peak pollen periods, many asthma and allergy sufferers seek refuge indoors. However, according to Environmental Protection Agency studies, indoor air pollution may be two to five times higher than that found outdoors. In bedrooms, dust mites give off particles that cause allergic reactions when inhaled. To reduce dust mite exposure, mattresses, box springs, and pillows should be covered in zippered, hypo-allergenic, mite-proof encasements. Keep windows closed to prevent pollen and mold from drifting inside. Reduce the number of indoor plants, as wet soil encourages mold growth.