To the majority of the population, pollen season is just an annual inconvenience that can be pacified by a simple trip to the doctor and a pack of tissues. But for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States, spring allergies means an increase in the likelihood of an exacerbation, also known as a flare-up. When not handled correctly, flare-ups can lead to hospitalization and heightened susceptibility to infection. Is there any way to manage allergies and lung disease?
Managing Allergies and Lung Disease
Flowers, trees, grass, pollen and mold spores can all bring on a serious attack. Often, this includes shortness of breath, increase mucus production, tightness in the chest and wheezing. Flare-ups are the number one cause of hospitalization for COPD sufferers and can be fatal. There are numerous triggers that can cause a flare-up and unfortunately, spring allergies fall on the list. By preventing an allergy attack, sufferers can also reduce the likelihood of a life-threatening flare-up.
The Lung Institute is committed to improving the lives of lung disease sufferers. Since allergy season is predicted to peak within the next couple of weeks, the Lung Institute has put together five helpful tips along with resources to help individuals with COPD, and other forms of lung disease, avoid a flare-up.
Tip 1: Stay Inside
Make sure to stay indoors, leave shoes outside to avoid tracking pollen indoors and wash clothes after being outside.
Tip 2: Close Windows
We know the breeze feels nice, but don’t let allergens come inside! By keeping windows closed, pollen and other allergens can’t make their way into the home.
Tip 3: Change Filters & Vacuum
Change home air conditioning and car filters often. This will eliminate allergens that may be circulating, and create a controlled environment. Also, remember to vacuum and clean floors regularly to catch allergens.
Tip 4: Fix Leaks
Fix leaky pipes or areas that have water damage. Mold is prone to grow in moist environments and can have an extremely detrimental effect overall health including the lungs.
Tip 5: Avoid Other Triggers
Make sure to stay away from cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, cleaning agents with harsh chemicals, too dry and too humid air, pet dander and other known flare-up triggers.
Controlling the weather obviously isn’t an option, but there are some helpful resources available to detect how bad allergens are in the area. The Weather Channel’s website has a search option to see what’s blooming by zip code and how bad the pollen index is that day. Pollen.com is also a good point of reference to check the pollen, allergy, and cold and flu forecast for the upcoming week.
Prescription medications and inhalers can help lung disease sufferers with allergy symptoms. However, for individuals still experiencing flare-ups and life-altering symptoms, stem cell therapy can help. Stem cell therapy doesn’t replace the need for medications, but it has been proven to significantly improve quality of life for lung disease sufferers and help them breathe easier.