25 May 2018
FRIDAY, May 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Lots of things grow in the spring, including your risk of severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks. So people need to take preventive measures and know when to seek medical care, an emergency physician says. “Spring tends to bring more people to the emergency department,” Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a college news release. “Conditions like asthma and allergies are manageable for most people but they can easily become life-threatening. Minimize your risk by limiting your exposure to known triggers, carrying your medicines with you if needed, and developing an action plan for asthma and allergic reactions with your care provider.” Each year, asthma sends more than 1.8 million people to U.S. emergency rooms, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kivela said people with asthma should go to the ER when: symptoms do not improve quickly after the use of rescue inhalers; they’re straining to breathe or can’t complete a sentence without pausing for breath; their lips or fingernails turn blue. Picnics, barbecues, pool parties and other outdoor get-togethers can put some people at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which is most often caused by a food allergy. It’s estimated that a food allergy sends somebody to a U.S. emergency room every three minutes. Insect bites and stings are another common cause of anaphylaxis. Symptoms such as tingling, numbness or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur within minutes, but it might take up to several hours for life-threatening reactions to develop, according to Kivela. Seek immediate emergency care if you or someone else develops any combination of the following symptoms: Difficulty swallowing or breathing Swelling of the tongue, throat, nasal passages or face Welts, hives, itchiness, redness on the skin, lips, eyelids or other areas of the body Bluish skin, especially the lips or nail beds (or grayish in darker complexions) Nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting/diarrhea Heart palpitations; weak and rapid pulse; confusion, slurred speech; dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, fainting or unconsciousness. If someone develops anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately. And while you wait for first responders to arrive: lay the person flat and elevate the feet; administer self-injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen) if available; check for a medical tag, bracelet or necklace that may identify anaphylactic triggers, Kivela said. More information The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on anaphylaxis.
21 December 2017
THURSDAY, Dec. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Allergies and asthma can be worse than the Grinch when it comes to ruining your holiday spirit. “People may not want to admit their allergies and asthma interfere with their holiday fun, but the truth is, symptoms can occur any time of the year,” said Dr. Bradley Chipps, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “If you keep in mind some simple tips, you can prepare yourself — and your nose and eyes — for allergy symptoms that may crop up during the holidays,” he said in a news release from the organization. First of all, protect yourself from the flu by getting a flu shot and washing your hands regularly and thoroughly. People with asthma need to remember that very cold, dry air can trigger asthma symptoms. So if you have asthma, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask when you’re outside. That’s especially true if you’re exercising. Or, consider exercising indoors during cold weather. Real Christmas trees can have mold spores and pollen on them, which can trigger nasal allergies. Their sap can also cause contact skin allergies in some people. What to do? Rinse off live trees before bringing them into your home. And, even if your tree is artificial, clean it — and all decorations — before use because they, too, can gather dust and mold. Food allergies can also pose problems during the holiday season. The best advice is to alert hosts to any food allergies you or others in your family have — and consider taking a dish or dishes to parties to be sure they’ll be something that’s safe for you. If you’re hosting, let your guests know what dishes you plan to serve. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and safety tips.