Gazing out your window, you see the beauty of the spring – the flowers are in bloom, the trees are full and you can almost hear the light buzzing of bees pollinating your flourishing plants. Spring represents new beginnings and the return of weather that beckons you outside. But for some people, remaining active out of doors, especially in the spring, proves to be difficult. Those beautiful flowers cause sneezing and for some, exercising too hard aggravates their asthma symptoms.
That’s where Charleston Allergy & Asthma comes in. They are there to help people remain active despite their breathing difficulties.
Active people mirror Newton’s first law of motion: “An object in motion stays in motion,” meaning that active people like to stay that way. Exercise-induced asthma is a condition that can keep once-active people from doing what they love. Basically, exercise-induced asthma is when a person develops breathing problems related to exercise, usually including high-impact routines.
“People that develop exercise-induced asthma are active people who unfortunately had the underlying triggers to develop asthma. Once they became more active in their lives, asthma rose to the surface,” said Dr. Carolyn Word of Charleston Allergy & Asthma.
She added that the practice’s goal is to never prohibit anyone from continuing their active lifestyle. She said that with the proper medication management, people with exercise-induced asthma can prevent their symptoms.
“We will recommend controller medications for asthma sufferers,” she explained.
Active people who are affected by allergies, especially in the spring and in the Lowcountry, may have a harder time doing their usual workouts outdoors. Dr. Word said that in the Charleston area, outdoor allergens such as mold and pollen are a problem pretty much year-round.
“Trees can pollinate from January to May, grass from March to July and weeds from August to December,” she said. “We also deal with mold issues here because of the amount of moisture.”
As with exercise-induced asthma, allergies can be managed so that active lifestyles do not have to stop.
“There are many different ways to treat allergies,” Dr. Word said. “There are medications in the form of shots, nasal sprays, pills and tablets. We will find the best treatment plan that works for you.”
Charleston Allergy & Asthma keeps track of the pollen count with a pollen reader that’s been installed at its Summerville office, and that number can be viewed daily on the practice’s website. When the count is low, Dr. Word said patients can actually back off their medicine for a bit.
“The pollen count is lower in the winter, so oftentimes we advise patients to take time off from their meds at that time of year,” she said.
An allergic reaction can present itself in the form of many different symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulties, itchy eyes and fatigue. Allergy sufferers can often develop asthma if they do not treat their restricted breathing condition.
“Allergens are in the air, and everything in the air will go through your lungs,” Dr. Word said.
“Anytime that you feel your breathing is compromised outside of the normal time that it would take to recover from a workout, you should see a doctor.”
The goal is to keep people active.
“The last thing we want is for people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle because of breathing restrictions that we know we can help,” Dr. Word said.