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Defending Yourself Against Allergies

April 06, 1998

More than 35 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you are among them and think coping is impossible, here are some possibilities from the American Assn. of Respiratory Care:

* During the height of pollen season, try to stay indoors with the air conditioning on as much as possible to reduce exposure to the allergens.

* If you must go outside, try to do so only in the early morning or late evening. During midday, pollen and spores are at their highest level, so consider wearing a paper mask, especially if you will be doing yard work.

* Avoid common irritants such as smoke, dust, smog, fumes, aerosol sprays, cold air and excessive humidity.

* Keep your resistance to allergens high by eating properly and getting ample rest.

* Help your doctor find the allergens affecting you by keeping a record of the activities and events that accompany your allergic symptoms.

* Keep a current list of the medications and doses you are taking for your allergies.

* Learn how each drug works and be aware of the possible side effects.

* Do not stop taking or change the dose of a drug without contacting your doctor.

* If you miss taking a dose of medication, take it as soon as you realize the mistake and take the next dose at the recommended time interval. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one.

* Check with your doctor before taking an over-the-counter remedy that might interfere with prescription drugs you are taking for your allergies.

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