Martha Jefferson Healthwise--December 26th

Allergist Dr. Gretchen Beck with Martha Jefferson Hospital discusses the effects of the common cold on those who have allergies. She explains that more people suffering from allergies are most aggravated by the hot humid weather, than cold weather activation. But that's not to say that the onset of cold weather doesn't bring its own issues. If you think about the season it does bring about more viruses, flu, sniffles and sneezing. When you add those factors into someone who suffers from asthma it's going to make their symptoms worse.

She continues by explaining what medicines there are help with cold-like symptoms. The medicines most prescribed for asthma are meant to be taken year round, or at least seasonally. Lots of people don't like to take medication when they are not having symptoms but if you start taking it when you do, normally it's too late. So I tell my patients that as we're going into the season don't wait to start taking the medicine. Do it preemptively. Take it before the symptoms show up. Lots of these medications take weeks to get to full strength and that will slow the relief that you see.

Lastly, scented candles, potpourri, anything with a strong odor including the Christmas tree might be a trigger in causing an asthma attack. A live Christmas tree is in a state of dying when it's brought into the home will causes certain things to be released into the air that will irritate the lungs. Also, the majority of people think they are getting rid of the problem if they buy an artificial tree. But if you're storing it in the basement, attic or garage like most people do, its growing mold and gathering dust and those two irritants are big for most people.

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