By: Dr. Kala M. Markel, PT, DPT
For the majority of the population, spring time and pollen season is just an annual problem that can be rectified by a simple trip to the doctor or an over the counter allergy medication. However, for patients with lung issues, like COPD, allergy season can increase the risk for an exacerbation. When COPD exacerbations are not handled correctly, it can lead to ER trips or hospitalizations.
Trees, grass, flowers, pollen and mold spores can all bring on an allergy attack. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, increased mucus production, chest tightness, and wheezing. By preventing allergy attacks, sufferers can also reduce the likelihood of a COPD exacerbation.
The Lung Institute has helped identify five helpful tips to avoid flare-ups:
Tip 1 – Keep the Inside of Your House Safe: Leave your shoes outside, avoiding tracking pollen or other allergens into your home and wash your clothes after being outdoors.
Tip 2 – Close Your Windows: Even though the breeze feels nice, it allows allergens indoors.
Tip 3 – Change Filters & Vacuum: Make sure to change heating/air conditioning filters in your home (and car), and vacuum regularly to keep dust levels down.
Tip 4 – Fix Leaks: Mold is prone to growing in moist environments, so try to amend any areas with water damage.
Tip 5 – Avoid Other Triggers: Remembering to stay away from other triggers such as cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, cleaning agents, and other triggers that can increase the risk of exacerbation.