-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Allergy and asthma
triggers can turn your backyard from a summer oasis into a place of
misery if you don't take precautions, experts say.
More than 50 million Americans have allergies and asthma,
according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology. Here, the college identifies potential causes of
allergy and asthma that could lurk in your backyard:
Insect stings can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.
People who know they have an insect allergy should always carry
their prescribed epinephrine. To avoid insect sting, always wear
shoes in the yard; keep food covered; don't sip from open soft
drinks; steer clear of sweet-smelling perfumes, deodorants and
hairspray; and don't wear brightly colored clothes.
Grass and tree pollens aren't the only outdoor allergens that
can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. They can also be caused by
outdoor molds that grow on rotting logs, in compost piles and on
grasses and grains. Summer heat can promote mold growth. If
over-the-counter remedies don't relieve symptoms, you may need to
get allergy shots, the allergists said.
Some people are allergic to certain sunscreens. If you notice a
rash or itchy skin after applying sunscreen, you might be allergic
to the chemicals in the product. Choose natural sunscreens that
don't have the chemicals benzophenone, octocrylene and PABA
(para-aminobenzoic acid), which can irritate skin.
About 4 percent of Americans have a food allergy, and they need
to be careful at backyard barbecues. They may be unknowingly
exposed to food allergens in salads and sauces. Another potential
threat is cross-contamination, which occurs when the same utensils
are used for grilling and serving side dishes, and when condiments
are shared. People with food allergies should bring an allergy-free
dish for themselves, use condiment packets and carry two doses of
Smoke from barbecues and open fires can trigger an asthma
attack. Sit upwind of the smoke and avoid getting too close.
The bite of the lone star tick, which is found in southern and
central regions of the United States, can cause an allergic
reaction after you eat red meat. If you notice hives, nausea,
asthma and other allergy symptoms three to six hours after eating
red meat, you may have what is called a meat-induced alpha-gal
allergic reaction. If the symptoms are serious, seek emergency
medical care. Follow up with proper allergy testing and a treatment
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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