15 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Health
Have you set any New Year’s resolutions yet? Most people want to be healthier, but this is easier said than done, especially if asthma or allergies get in your way. It’s not enough to say, “I will be healthier in 2022”—your goals must be measurable and actionable if you hope to achieve them. If you have asthma or allergies, check out these 15 New Year’s resolutions for your health that you can actually keep this year.
1. Meet with an Allergist to Identify Your Triggers
If you don’t already have an asthma and allergy treatment plan, it’s time to make one. An evaluation from a board-certified allergist can be highly beneficial. Your allergist will assess your condition, help determine your triggers, and suggest ways to manage your symptoms. Allergy symptoms can sometimes be controlled with easy modifications to your environment. Asthma can be better controlled with a personalized combination of fast-acting treatment (such as a prescription inhaler) and long-term treatment (including oral medications and immunotherapy).
2. Review Your Existing Treatment Plan
If you’re already taking steps to manage your asthma and allergies, review your plan with your doctor at the start of the year. Discuss what is and isn’t working for you, including any lifestyle or economic barriers you face. Also, the allergists at Allergy & Asthma Specialists are on the forefront of prescribing biologic drugs for asthma, eczema and hives that are acclaimed as life changing. For the medications you are currently prescribed, ask questions to make sure you’re taking them correctly, and review your inhaler technique with your doctor. After all, the medicine won’t work if it doesn’t reach your lungs.
3. Create an Anaphylaxis Emergency Action Plan
Ask your doctor for help creating an emergency plan in case you ever go into anaphylactic shock. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology has a form you can fill out and keep with your other medical records or first aid kit.
4. Take Medications and Use Immunotherapy as Directed
Allergen Immunotherapy is the only available treatment for allergic disease that can reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, alter the course of the disease, and induce long-term clinical remission safely and effectively in patients with allergen sensitivity. Maintaining a compliant schedule is very important.
Inhalers don’t “cure” asthma , but using them properly can help you control your condition. For the best results, set a goal to follow the instructions recommended by your doctor and allergist.
5. Start a Symptom Diary
Are you unsure why flare-ups occur when they do? Chances are you’re coming in contact with asthma and allergy triggers without knowing it. Set a goal to keep track of your medication use, activities, and symptoms every day. Track where you go, what you eat, and what environmental hazards you’re exposed to so you can begin recognizing what causes your symptoms to flare up.
6. Reduce Your Exposure to Asthma and Allergy Triggers
Thanks to your symptom diary, you may realize your asthma worsens at night and in the morning. This means there could be a trigger in your bedroom, such as the wall-to-wall carpet, dust mites in your bedding, or pet dander in your pillow. Experiment with changes to your environment, such as replacing the flooring, covering your pillow and mattress with dust-mite-proof cases, and keeping pets out of the bedroom. Such efforts may allow you to reduce your exposure and minimize your symptoms naturally. Allergists are experts at helping to identify environmental triggers and how to eliminate or avoid them.
7. Keep Up with Weekly Chores
Cleaning your home can help cut down on indoor allergens, so set a goal to sweep, vacuum, and dust weekly. Wear a respirator to reduce your exposure to dust, pet dander, and mold spores, or ask someone else to complete these chores for you.
8. Buy an Air Purifier
Another way to keep your indoor air clean is to run a purifier. This traps dust, mold, smoke, and other allergens circulating through the air to help relieve your symptoms. Discuss your needs with your doctor or allergist, who may be able to recommend specific a product.
9. Buy a Nasal Irrigation System
Nasal rinses use saline solution to clean your sinuses and flush out germs before they take hold. Nasal irrigation is recommended for anyone with asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and other upper respiratory conditions. Make a point to buy a nasal irrigation system this year so you can take advantage of this natural way to manage your symptoms.
10. Stay Ahead of Seasonal Allergies
If you know you’ll start sneezing, coughing, and having itchy, watery eyes come spring, start taking your allergy medication three to four weeks in advance. This primes your system and makes your symptoms more manageable once the pollen arrives. Schedule reminders on your phone if you think you’ll forget to take medicine when you’re not experiencing any symptoms.
11. Get Your Annual Flu Shot
Flu season runs from October to May. If you haven’t gotten your shot by the start of the New Year, set a resolution to get it done before the end of January. This simple protective measure reduces your risk of catching the flu, which would only worsen your asthma and allergy symptoms.
12. Exercise More
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Following this advice makes a great New Year’s resolution for anyone, but it’s especially beneficial if you have allergies or asthma. After all, exercising opens your airways and releases endorphins, which makes you feel better. It also boosts your immune system and helps you lose weight. Dropping a few pounds can make your asthma symptoms easier to control. Just remember, you may need to use your rescue inhaler before working out to prevent an exercise-induced asthma attack.
13. Adopt a Mediterranean Diet
Eating healthy is the other major factor for losing weight. Plus, foods high in antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to benefit patients with asthma. As a result, you may want to start the New Year by following the Mediterranean diet. This involves eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Of course, no foods can cure asthma and allergies, but good nutrition is essential for anyone managing a chronic medical condition.
14. Drink 8 Cups of Water per Day
Staying hydrated is critical for good health. In fact, every bodily function relies on adequate hydration. Drinking enough water also keeps your nasal passages and lungs from building up too much mucus. While each person’s ideal water intake varies slightly, you should aim to drink at least eight cups per day.
15. Go to Bed One Hour Earlier Than Usual
Getting enough rest boosts your immune system and increases your energy level. Sleep is also when your body heals the most. So if you average only six hours of shuteye every night, aim to go to sleep one hour earlier all year long. That extra hour could be just what your body needs to improve your allergy and asthma symptoms.
Do you have undiagnosed respiratory problems? Is your current asthma or allergy treatment plan not working for you? Rely on Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM to provide optimal treatment, from your initial diagnosis to your ongoing care. Please call 610-825-5800 today to request an appointment at one of eight convenient office locations in the Philadelphia area.