Reducing stress could cut allergy and asthma symptoms

Cutting down on stress just might cut down a person’s allergy and asthma symptoms. “Studies show stress can cause a number of negative health effects, including causing more symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers,” says Gundersen Health System allergist Jared Darveaux, MD. “It makes sense that if you want to make your life more fun and less challenging, you might focus on ways to bring peace and wellness to your household.” Dr. Darveaux has four tips to help people stay calm, and thus reduce symptoms this winter season.
Exercise helps maintain an emotional balance but with caution. Exercising in cold weather may make asthma symptoms worse. If symptoms like coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath occur when exercising in cold weather, they may indicate undiagnosed asthma. Darveaux suggests seeing an allergist for a potential asthma diagnosis in an effort to work to help control symptoms.

Cold weather exercise tips:
• Warm up with gentle exercises for about 15 minutes before starting more intense exercise.
• Cover the mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask when exercising in cold weather.
• Take medicine as recommended by an allergist to prevent and treat asthma symptoms.
• Consider moving exercise programs indoors if the temperature is below freezing.
Re-think the candle
Scented candles can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Wood burning fireplaces are also a trigger. Consider a flameless candle and an electric fireplace, which have the calming look and feel, but no scent or smoke to make people cough or wheeze.
Keep the flu away
During flu season, flu can be passed along when people are up close and personal with anyone who has it. Nothing can make the winter more stressful than having the flu - especially for those with asthma. Make sure to get a flu vaccine and always wash hands thoroughly and regularly.
Host well
Entertaining can be stressful if a person and their family members have food allergies. Asking hosts what’s in each dish in advance will help calm some nerves and give people the opportunity to bring dishes, should it be necessary. Another way to avoid food allergens is for people to consider inviting the group to their own house. As the host, share with guests the ingredients in dishes being served. And if it’s pot luck, let guests in a positive manner know what items they might need to steer clear of.

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