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Allergies

Managing your allergies is an important part of staying healthy. Common causes of allergy symptoms are house dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold and pollen.

As soon as you know what triggers your symptoms, try to reduce your exposure to the triggers. This can help prevent allergy symptoms, asthma and other health problems. Ask your doctor about allergy medicine or immunotherapy.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments and to call your doctor if you are having problems.

Preventative Steps for Common Allergy Causes:

  • Dust or Dust Mites:
    • Wash sheets, pillowcases and other bedding every week in hot water.
    • Use airtight, dust-proof covers for pillows, duvets and mattresses. Avoid plastic covers, because they tend to tear quickly and do not “breathe.” Wash according to the instructions.
    • Remove extra blankets and pillows.
    • Use blankets that are machine-washable.
    • Don’t use home humidifiers. They can help mites live longer.
  • Air-Conditioning: Change or clean all filters every month. Keep windows closed. Use high-efficiency air filters. Don’t use window or attic fans, which draw dust into the air.
  • Pet Dander: Keep pets outside or, at the very least, out of your bedroom. Old carpet and cloth-covered furniture can hold a lot of animal dander. You may need to replace them.
  • Cockroaches: Use cockroach bait to get rid of them. Then clean your home well.
  • Mold: Remove live indoor plants because molds can grow in soil. Get rid of furniture, rugs and drapes that smell musty. Check for mold in the bathroom.
  • Pollen: Stay inside when pollen counts are high.
  • Smoke: Don’t smoke or let anyone else smoke in your house. Don’t use fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. Avoid paint fumes, perfumes and other strong odors.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

  • Severe
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over your body
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips or tongue
    • Trouble breathing
    • Passing out (losing consciousness)
    • Feeling very lightheaded
    • Suddenly feel weak, confused or restless
  • Common
    • A rash or hives (raised red, areas on the skin)
    • Itching
    • Swelling
    • Belly pain, nausea or vomiting

Always watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or visit an ER if:

  • Your allergies get worse.
  • You need help controlling your allergies.
  • You have questions about allergy testing.
  • You have questions about allergy testing.

When to Call for Help?

Give an epinephrine shot if you think you are having a severe allergic reaction. After giving an epinephrine shot call 911, even if you feel better. Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care whenever experiencing allergic reactions.

Wheezing or Bronchoconstriction

Wheezing is a whistling noise made during breathing. It occurs when the small airways, or bronchial tubes that lead to your lungs, swell or contract (spasm) and become narrow. This narrowing is called bronchoconstriction. When your airways constrict, it is hard for air to pass through, and this makes it hard for you to breathe.

Wheezing and bronchoconstriction can be caused by many problems, including:

  • An infection such as the flu or a cold
  • Allergies such as hay fever
  • Diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Smoking

Treatment for your wheezing depends on what is causing the problem. Your wheezing may get better without treatment, but you should avoid things that cause your wheezing, or you may need medicine to help treat wheezing, reduce swelling or relieve spasms in your lungs.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems.

Preventative Steps You Can Take

  • Medicine: Take exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: Take the full course as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better.
  • Breathing: Moist air from a humidifier, hot shower or sink filled with hot water may help ease your symptoms and allow you to breathe easier.
  • Congestion in Nose and Throat: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially hot fluids, may help relieve your symptoms. If you have kidney, heart or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Mucus in Airways: It may help to breathe deeply and cough.
  • Smoking: Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around you. Smoking can make wheezing worse.
  • Wheezing: Avoid the causes of your wheezing. These may include colds, smoke, air pollution, dust, pollen, pets, cockroaches, stress and cold air.

Symptoms of Wheezing or Bronchoconstriction

  • Severe trouble breathing
  • Passing out (losing consciousness)
  • Coughing up yellow, dark brown or bloody mucus (sputum)
  • New or worsening shortness of breath
  • Wheezing not getting better or gets worse after you start taking your medicine

When to Call for Help?

Call 911 anytime you think you need emergency care. Call your doctor or seek immediate medical care when experiencing severe symptoms.

Care instructions adapted under license by Benchmark Urgent and Family Care. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information