When the wind whips up here in the California Valleys and passes, or the fire season hits, I often think of my allergy and asthma patients.
These environmental changes inevitably trigger a barrage of visits and messages from my patients who increasingly suffer during these times.
These times are not as well known to people as annual springtime blooms which trigger more common “hayfever” variety of allergy that most know how to identify and self-treat. I call these the mild “achoo” symptoms of itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing that the pollen and grasses trigger for a limited time.
The types of “allergy” patients I see in my family practice are the allergic rhinitis (AR), vasomotor rhinitis (VMR), allergic rhino-sinusitis (not an endangered African elephant species) or asthma patients with upper respiratory symptoms.
These conditions are more difficult to treat and the hallmark symptom is a very uncomfortable sleep-and-breathing-disruptive congestion. Persistent congestion can then lead to triggering asthma, which can turn into sinus infections and bronchitis when congestive symptoms drag on.
Here is the medical advice I give these patients:
- Stay indoors when the wind is active or there is a lot of dust or fire and smoke debris in your area.
- Be consistent with your oral or nasal antihistamines as well as inhalers or any controller medications you’ve been prescribed.
- Do remember that most of these treatments take a couple weeks to take full effect so start early as a prevention if you can. Avoid stopping prematurely thinking it is not working and then thinking that there must be an infection.
- Hydrate well
- Get your boosters and vaccinations- as those with allergies and asthma along with other chronic respiratory issues are often more prone to infections.
- Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer or germicidals (not anti-bacterials) when water and soap is not available or too inconvenient