Breathe easy

As summer approaches, allergy and asthma sufferers must adapt to seasonal changes.



Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids, says there are several things you can do while cleaning to help reduce allergens in your home, including vacuuming blinds and curtains.

Allergy sufferers, you’re not alone. More than 50 million people suffer from allergies in the U.S., according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Many of those also suffer from asthma.

At Allergy Clinic of Tulsa, generally 75-80 percent of asthma patients also have nasal allergies. Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma and occurs when allergens trigger asthma symptoms. 

“Allergens cause an allergic reaction because the immune system responds by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (IgE),” says Dr. Ahmad Mourad with Allergy Clinic of Tulsa. “Too much IgE can trigger inflammation of the airways in your lungs, causing difficulty of breathing.”

 

What’s an allergen?

Allergens fall into two categories: seasonal and year-round. 

Seasonal allergens include tree pollens (spring), grass pollens (summer) and weed pollens (fall). Perennial allergens include dust mites, mold and animal dander.

“Allergens can enter the body by being inhaled, swallowed, touched or injected,” Mourad says. “Pollens, molds, dust mites, cockroaches and animal danders are typical inhaled allergens.”

Injection allergen examples include insect stings, while latex is a common skin allergen.    

“Simply put: The pollen (an allergen) triggers a complicated chain reaction that results in the release of histamine, which causes the sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy throat and nasal congestion,” says Dr. W.P. Sawyer II with Eastern Oklahoma Ear, Nose and Throat.

Dr. W.P. Sawyer II

In addition to those symptoms, one might develop a rash or hives or feel ill or tired after coming into contact with an allergen.

Severe allergic reactions cause different symptoms, according to Mourad, including face, eye or tongue swelling, chest pain or tightness, wheezing, difficulty breathing and swallowing and dizziness.

“The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis,” which is a whole-body reaction, he says. “It is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.”

The most common anaphylactic reactions are to foods, insect stings, medications and latex. Symptoms include skin rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and shock, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 

Emergency treatment includes the use of an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen).

“Epinephrine is a ‘rescue drug’ because it opens the airways and raises blood pressure,” Mourad says. “If you witness someone with a severe reaction, you can help by laying the person flat on their back, elevating their legs and covering them with a blanket.”

 

Why allergies and asthma develop

Allergies sometimes develop or intensify due to exposure. For example, if you have never suffered from allergies but move to a new part of the country with more pollen present or new allergens, you could become susceptible.

Mild allergies can intensify as you get older if there are changes to the internal structure of your nose, such as if your nasal septum becomes deviated from an injury.

“Some other things impact your nasal health and those then impact your allergies and make it worse,” Sawyer says. “Your allergies themselves aren’t worse — just your nasal condition is worse because of these other things.” 

Genetics can play a part, as well as what Mourad calls the “hygiene hypothesis,” which suggests that highly clean environments can cause immune systems to overreact to ordinary things like pet dander and peanuts.

 

What’s asthma?

Asthma can be triggered by allergens or environmental, non-allergenic causes. Mourad says allergenic triggers include pollen, mold, dust mites, cockroaches, animals and occasionally food and chemicals. Non-allergenic triggers are air irritants such as smoke, air pollutants and, occasionally, strong emotional stress. 

When the body is having an asthma attack, airways become inflamed, and the muscles around the airways tighten.

“This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness,” Mourad says. “Mild episodes may last only a few minutes; more severe ones can last from hours to days.”

Mourad adds that mild asthma attacks can resolve on their own or can require medication like a quick-acting inhaler, and severe attacks can be shorted with the right treatment.

 

Treatment

For allergies, Sawyer suggests starting with an over-the-counter medication, which can minimize symptoms. 

“If they are just intermittent symptoms, the best thing to use is an antihistamine,” Sawyer says. “If they are more continuous symptoms, the best thing to use is a nasal steroid. You can use a combination of the two if you need to.”

If an over-the-counter treatment doesn’t help, see a doctor who can work with you to create an allergy treatment and management plan. 

There also are home therapies to try. Take a shower at night instead of in the morning. Sawyer says it will wash off the pollen you’ve collected in your hair during the day.

Saltwater nasal spray is another option. 

“Using a saltwater nasal spray several times a day physically removes pollens,” Sawyer says. “It’s also an natural decongestant, which seems to help.”

Once you know the cause of your allergy, try to avoid it. Mourad suggests staying in an air-conditioned environment during peak hay fever season and eliminating dust mites and animal dander from the home.

For asthma, work with your physician to track symptoms and adjust your medications, if needed. In some cases, physicians might suggest preventative medications to take regularly.

“These preventative medications treat the airway inflammation that causes asthma signs and symptoms and reduce the risk of asthma flare-ups,” Mourad says.

If you have an attack, stay calm and take prescribed medicines. Severe asthma attacks can first be treated with quick-acting medication, but Mourad also suggests going to the doctor or urgent care immediately. Also, see a doctor for same-day treatment if you continue to wheeze and feel breathless after a treatment.

 



Clean your home to fend off allergies and asthma

If you’re sneezing inside your home, allergy triggers might be present. Some of them might be coming inside the house with you.

 

Front door

“Sixty percent of household dust can be reduced by removing shoes before entering your home,” says Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids. “Leaving your shoes outside is a really great way to minimize the dust, germs and everything else.”

If taking off shoes isn’t an option, another way to help reduce dust is to place dirt-hugging and dust-catching mats outside and inside the door, so it catches what’s coming in on your shoes or your pet’s feet.

 

Bedroom

Keeping the bedroom dust-free is important. “We spend 30 percent of our life in bed,” Bates says. “Many of us are allergic to dust and dust mites, and it can impact the quality of life and sleep. It isn’t easy to sleep with a stuffy nose or asthma.” Bates suggests avoiding under-the-bed storage. 

“If you do store things under the bed, make sure they’re tightly sealed containers you can roll out so you can dust off the tops and vacuum that area,” she says.

 

Bathroom

Keep in mind mold and mildew, which can be allergy triggers. Try running the bathroom exhaust fan for 15 minutes after a shower. 

“The exhaust fan is there to pull the humidity and moisture out of your bathroom, so it’ll help cut down on mold and mildew,” Bates says.

 

Pets

Grooming dogs regularly is important because they can bring pollen inside. 

“Keeping them properly groomed and brushed will help minimize what’s coming in,” Bates says. “Pets are often overlooked unless you’re allergic to them.”

 

Cleaning tips and tricks

There are other simple things you can do to help minimize allergens in the home (and workplace, too), according to Bates.

 

1. Change air filters regularly. A good rule of thumb is whether you can see light through it. If not, the filter needs to be replaced.

2. At home, wash bedding weekly in hot water, which will kill dust mites. If your pillows are washable, wash those, too.

3. Vacuum your mattress while your sheets are in the wash. Bates suggests using a special spray to kill bacteria and freshen your mattress. Mix one to two cups of vodka or rubbing alcohol with an essential oil like eucalyptus or clove (20-30 drops). This can be used on a traditional or foam mattress. Now spray away! Additionally, you can use baking soda to freshen up foam mattresses, but you must vacuum it up after. She emphasizes that you should only mist — and never soak — either kind of mattress.

4. Don’t forget your ceiling fan. Wrap a pillowcase around the blades to catch the dust. If your fan is very dusty, put the pillowcase on the blade and wipe, collecting the dust in the pillowcase. Bates says this is a much cleaner technique than dusting. Make sure to take the pillowcase outside to shake out the dust, and then launder it as usual, using hot water. Or use a feather duster on the blades before you vacuum. 

5. Don’t neglect windowsills, blinds and lampshades.

6. Change your vacuum bag outside regularly and consider a HEPA filtration vacuum. When vacuuming, occasionally flip back your area rug and vacuum its underside. 

7. Vacuum upholstery, and use a dust mop under your furniture if you have hardwood floors.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Real weddings

Tulsa couples tie the knot

A wish the heart makes

Tulsa star Cody Davis shares his ‘Cinderella’ story.

Mai kind of drink

Take a trip to the tropics with the classic mai tai.
Edit Module

Add your comment:
A-List

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2018

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

Funday Sunday at Gilcrease Museum On this free community day, take holiday photos with Santa Claus (2:30-4:30 p.m.), listen to musical performances, make artworks inspired by the season,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gilcrease Museum
Tulsa, OK


Telephone: 918-596-2700
Website »

More information

Santa will be stopping by to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium on December 16 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm! Get your picture taken, decorate gingerbread cookies, make an ornament, and play on our bounce...

Cost: Free with the purchase of a general admission

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr.
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Website »

More information

What: Santa Claus at Bradford Park in Broken Arrow! Where: Capital Homes at The Reserve at Bradford Park Model Home: 1507 E Jasper Pl, Broken Arrow, OK 74011 When: Sunday, December 16, 3 pm –...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Reserve at Bradford Park Model Home
1507 E Jasper Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Capital Homes Residential Group, LLC
Telephone: 918-630-9633
Contact Name: Amanda Connolly
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether you are ready to enroll for your first semester at OSU-Tulsa or are exploring transfer options for a future semester, let OSU-Tulsa help you get started during Transfer Days. Our advising,...

Cost: Free

Where:
OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
Telephone: 918-594-8355
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Mothers of Preschoolers (and preschool means prior to school, ages 6 weeks to 5 years old). MOPS warmly welcomes any mom that has at least one child age 6 weeks to 5 years old. By joining MOPS, you...

Cost: Free

Where:
Eastwood Baptist Church
948 S 91st E Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Eastwood Baptist Church
Telephone: 918-836-8686
Contact Name: Shirley Pittenger
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Local, Live Music at the The Willows Family Ales taproom EVERY Thursday at 7:30pm. Surprise food vendor to be announced SOON!! 11/1 ---- Eric Himan 11/8 ---- Wendy Nichol Hall 11/15---...

Cost: FREE!!

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
418 South Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Contact Name: Julian Morgan

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Its that time a year again and that means our 3rd annual Mens Shopping Event is here!! We are so excited to be having this event! This year we are doing things a little different, instead of one...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Rhanes Spa
6422 S Elm Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Rhanes Spa
Telephone: 918.872.9211
Contact Name: Angela or Dakota
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

This is the first of an annual event exclusively for Millennials (The Mille). Come out and have a good time while knowing you're supporting a good cause!    All proceeds will go to...

Cost: Starting at $30.00

Where:
NOAH'S Event Venue
12710 East State Farm Blvd
Tulsa, OK  74146
View map »


Sponsor: Push Push Pray Foundation
Telephone: 918-250-3709
Contact Name: Sharon Thomas
Website »

More information

The Vox Solaris Chamber Choir will present its Winter 2018 Concert on December 21, 2018 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.  The choir is a non-profit organization and all ticket and donation...

Cost: $15 General Admission / $5 Students & Senior Citizens

Where:
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church
4250 W. Houston St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Sponsor: Vox Solaris Chamber Choir
Website »

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Its that time a year again and that means our 3rd annual Mens Shopping Event is here!! We are so excited to be having this event! This year we are doing things a little different, instead of one...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Rhanes Spa
6422 S Elm Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Rhanes Spa
Telephone: 918.872.9211
Contact Name: Angela or Dakota
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

  Brian Nhira & Friends from ‘The Voice’ to Perform 3rd Annual Tulsa Christmas Concert at the TCC VanTrease PACE.   Tulsa, OK -- Brian Nhira, an incredibly gifted...

Cost: Tickets starting at $25

Where:
TCC Vantrease PACE
10300 E 81st St.
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Brian Nhira Music & Good Life Music & Media Lessons
Telephone: 918-704-8855
Contact Name: Jasper Nhira
Website »

More information

Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs Tulsa

Cost: $15-25

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Co-hosted by Josh New and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a cultural initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Karl Jones presents Figures in Skating, an evening performance of mixed media,...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Loose Leaf Co.
2308 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK  74110
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship & Josh New
Telephone: 202-468-5275
Contact Name: Karl Jones
Website »

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Giving Guide
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Get a taste of the coasts at the new Peacemaker

Lobster rolls and seafood boils top the menu at the St. Louis-born restaurant, which opened a new location in Tulsa.

Comments

Ordering Christmas to-go

You can’t go wrong picking up anything at Stonehorse Market in Utica Square.

Comments

3 winning cookie swap recipes

If you only make one thing this holiday season, it might well be a cookie. Here are some go-to recipes for your next cookie swap.

Comments

Chef Justin Thompson just released a new cookbook

“Trial and Error” presents many of the most pivotal dishes and recipes to his life and career as a chef.

Comments

Pure makes your holidays a little healthier

Whether you want to do a one-day juice fast or start adding more plant-based foods to your diet, Pure Food and Juice is a good place to start.

Comments