Coping with Allergy Season

Sneezing, irritated skin, watery eyes –- it's springtime again, and allergy season is upon us.

Allergies are triggered by grass, ragweed pollen, mold, vegetation, and rotting wood. Depending on what part of the country you live in, allergy season varies in response to temperatures, wind currents, rainfall, and humidity levels. In terms of health, wellness, and productivity, asthma is one of this country's most common and costliest diseases. In fact, according to estimates, costs associated with allergy treatment and low productivity at work reach more than $2.5 billion a year.

In the Workplace
For susceptible workers, a number of irritants in the workplace can trigger allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms, with some professions creating greater risk than others. Office and warehouse workers struggle with dust mites; wood dust flourishes at construction sites; seasonal allergies plague landscapers, maintenance crews, and delivery people; and a number of manufacturing jobs emit chemical vapors that may irritate nasal and lung passageways.

Unlike allergens that exist at home, workplace allergens are more difficult to control because of location, ventilation systems, the amount of cleaning, temperature, humidity, and the materials that are required for the job. That said, it's important for employers and employees alike to understand allergens specific to their workplace, identify triggers, and find the best allergy treatment. Keep in mind that stress related to long hours, deadlines and personnel conflicts can exacerbate allergy symptoms. When it comes to loss of productivity, however, fatigue, which can sometimes be caused by allergy medicine, is a key factor.

To identify allergy triggers in the workplace, look for chemical fumes, smoke, insects, dust, paint, mold and mildew, perfumes and scented products, dyes, and fumes. To lessen or eliminate these triggers, ensure that work areas are well-ventilated, with less than 50 percent humidity to minimize molds, and kept clean and dust-free on a regular basis.

In both the work and home environment, it's helpful to use an air purifier to improve indoor air quality. Air cleaners filter particles from the air, such as dust, pet dander, pollen, and other pollutants. This eliminates some of the major causes of allergy symptoms. In addition, steam cleaning uses highly heated water to form a fine steam mist that kills germs and bacteria that can cause illness and aggravate allergies.

YourCity.MD, LLC provides free tools, services and effective, HIPAA-compliant communications for patients and providers in over 500 cities and states. YourCity.MD allows consumers to access local healthcare providers and high-quality medical content, and gives providers free productivity tools and the ability to increase patient referrals. YourCity.MD is currently partnering with media, employers, medical consultant/sales organizations, payers and other healthcare companies. To request partnership details, send requests to support@YourCity.MD.

Staying Informed
For those affected by seasonal allergies, it's important to stay informed about local allergen conditions, check pollen counts in the area, and plan outside activities accordingly. Typically, pollen counts are lower on cold, wet days and higher on warm, windy days, peaking in the morning hours and bottoming out in the afternoon.

One or more of the following treatments may help to reduce seasonal allergies' symptoms:

  • Rinse the nose with a saline solution to help relieve and reduce hay fever
  • Take antihistamines to help reduce itching, sneezing, and a runny nose
  • Take decongestants to help reduce a stuffy nose

If over-the-counter medications such as inter-nasal corticosteroids and antihistamines don't do the trick, allergy sufferers should consult a board-certified allergist to find out exactly what they are allergic to and to get proper treatment, such as allergy shots.

It's also helpful to access an online allergy community in order to learn about local health care information, resources, and providers and connect one-on-one with fellow allergy sufferers who can share experiences and provide tips and techniques for alleviating allergy symptoms, improving health and productivity and cutting the high costs of allergies.

YourCity.MD, LLC provides free tools, services and effective, HIPAA-compliant communications for patients and providers in over 500 cities and states. YourCity.MD allows consumers to access local healthcare providers and high-quality medical content, and gives providers free productivity tools and the ability to increase patient referrals. YourCity.MD is currently partnering with media, employers, medical consultant/sales organizations, payers and other healthcare companies. To request partnership details, send requests to support@YourCity.MD.

Posted by Joseph Benza, CEO of YourCity.MD on Apr 16, 2012


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