Allergy and Flu Season is Here
Posted - Apr 22, 2017
By: Renee Witherspoon, CSP, CIH, CHMM, South Plains Chapter President (2011-2016)
Allergy and flu season are upon us. Seasonal allergies affect more than 35 million Americans, with each season having different allergens.
Manage your symptoms
Seasonal allergies describe allergies that change with the seasons due to plant pollination.
For people with seasonal allergies, symptoms come and go with the pollination seasons of certain trees, grasses or weeds. In our West Texas area, pollen counts from Mulberry, Oak and Cedar can increase this time of year. Pollen levels can vary day to day, depending upon several factors, including the weather. High pollen levels can, in turn, affect the severity of symptoms. Find out your current allergy report at www.pollen.com/forecast.
So what can you do?
Try to avoid the triggers that start the symptoms, including:
- Change into different clothes to reduce pollen and mold spores after outside activities.
- Dry clothing and bedding inside in the dryer instead of hanging clothes outside.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses to protect the eyes from pollens and other irritants.
- Stay indoors during the early morning hours (between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.), and on windy days when pollen counts are higher.
- Barbeques and cookouts are fun, but air pollutants, such as smoke can be irritating.
- Watch for food allergies. Your intake of candy and other treats can increase during the holiday seasons.
If you experience severe allergies or asthma, talk to your doctor about appropriate treatment options and asthma control medications to minimize symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to create an individual action plan that can help to lessen your symptoms.
Reducing symptoms and avoiding triggers will help keep allergies and asthma in check.
What if I get the Flu?
Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus, and is mainly spread by coughing and sneezing. The best way to protect you and your family from getting the flu is through immunization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. For children under six months of age, it’s essential to vaccinate other family members and caregivers. This will help to ensure they are protected from the flu.
Along with a flu shot, practicing good health habits can protect your family from the spread of contagious germs (viruses and bacteria).
Here are a few recommendations:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based solution.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with other individuals if you are sick or if they are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick and keep children at home if they have a temperature.
Remember that flu immunization works best when you get the vaccine before the flu season starts, as it may take up to two weeks before the vaccine is fully protective.