Q: I've never had allergies before, but this year I developed a reaction to mold and needed to get an inhaler! Why did this happen now? — Joan H., Joliet, Ill.
A: This summer, because of excess rains and flooding across North America, mold allergies became particularly severe. In the Midwest, where you live, mold-spore counts hit 125,000.
|Mold allergies affect the respiratory |
tract and can become a health problem.
Researchers estimate the number of people afflicted has increased 12 percent in the past three years.
There may be as many as 300,000 types of outdoor mold, and their spores can be everywhere — in soil, plants, shady areas and rotting wood. They float through the air like tree pollen or ragweed, and are so small that they glide right through your nose's filtration system.
Your best defense against sneezing, itchy nose, watery eyes, nasal and bronchial congestion (including asthma) is to combine prompt treatment and good preventive strategies.
- Minimize the mold in your yard and house. Remove fallen leaves often and wear a pollen mask if doing any yardwork (look for a rating of N95 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). Disperse any sitting water or puddles in the yard, driveway, garden or basement. When the weather gets muggy and/or damp, keep windows closed and use an air conditioner or air filter to clear the indoor air.
- On high count days (this applies to high pollen counts too), when you come indoors wash your hair and change your clothes. Use a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages.
- Take antihistamines to prevent or tamp down your reaction. And use your rescue inhaler if you have asthma symptoms. But if you use it several times a day, every day, you need to talk to your doctor about a more effective treatment plan.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Mike Roizen is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improve the indoor air quality at work and at home
Most people spend the majority of their time indoors - at work, at home and even for leisure activities (such as going to the stores, the movie theatres or sports arenas). That is why poor indoor air quality can have such an impact on health and well-being.
|Electrocorp's RAP series|
provides cleaner and
With good ventilation, source control (e.g. switching to less toxic cleaning products) and air cleaning, it is possible to breathe cleaner and healthier air at all times.
A good air cleaner needs to have the right air filters. A HEPA is a great filter for particles, dust and allergens, but you also need a substantial activated carbon filter to remove airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and odors. A UV germicidal light bulb will also help to neutralize biological contaminants such as viruses, bacteria and mold spores.
Electrocorp offers a wide range of industrial and commercial air cleaners with activated carbon, HEPA and optional UV germicidal filtration. Contact Electrocorp for more information and a personal consultation.