Marlene Hochstrasser is the Clinical Director of the Devon Allergy Clinic which was established in 2006. Marlene has kindly provided HayMax readers with some of her expert insight. Check out The Devon Allergy Clinic for lots more helpful information, or to get in touch with Marlene.
By Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.
The links between asthma and rhinitis are well characterised. The allergic rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines stress the importance of these links and provide guidance for their prevention and treatment. Despite effective treatments being available, too few patients receive appropriate medical care for both diseases.
Most patients with rhinitis and asthma consult primary care physician; therefore, these physicians are encouraged to understand and use ARIA guidelines. Patients should also be informed about these guidelines to raise their awareness of optimal care and increase control of the two related diseases.
How to Manage This
The goal of ARIA guidelines is to provide recommendations about the best management options for most patients in most situations. Allergy UK, the leading allergy charity states that the following measures can be helpful:
- Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the pollen count is high (generally on warmer, dryer days). Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wetter days
- Limit time spent in rural areas. Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so escape to the coast instead.
- Use a saline nasal wash to remove pollens and allergens.
- On high pollen days, make sure to shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing as soon as possible.
- Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important early in the morning, when pollen is being released. It is also important in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
- If you suffer symptoms indoors, a good air filter should help. Choose one that is proven to trap even small particles (see the Allergy UK website for lists of approved air filters). [Link to Air Purifiers]
- Avoid mowing lawns or raking leaves yourself. If you must perform these tasks, use a filtration face mask.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes.
- A hat with a peak or large brim can help keep pollens from your eyes and face.
- Avoid drying washing on an outdoors clothes-line when pollen counts are high.
- Pollen counts tend to be high along roads with grass verges (dual-carriageways, motorways). Keep car windows closed and the air intake on ‘re-circulate’ when driving.
- Try to choose a car that is fitted with an effective pollen filter, or get an in-car air filter.
- Choose hypoallergenic eye make-up, especially mascara.