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Cedars-Sinai Pulmonologist Offers Commonsense Advice On Coping With A Prolific Allergy Season In California

Los Angeles - March 25, 2008 - California’s generous winter rains have set the stage for a spectacularly lush spring—and a potentially severe allergy season, says Zab Mosenifar, M.D., medical director, Women’s Guild Lung Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“The trails are magnificent,” notes the longtime mountain runner, who just completed his 26th Catalina Marathon. “I’d never seen the flowers I saw along the Santa Monica trails this season. The landscape is absolutely luscious.”

But there’s a price to pay for this abundant natural beauty, Mosenifar is quick to point out.

“Flowers bring pollen,” he states. “And when it’s windy, the pollen travels miles and miles and miles.”

For people with a history of allergies, that can mean trouble. Mosenifar says allergy sufferers need commonsense advice on how to cope with seasonal symptoms—not a dramatic change in lifestyle. “You don’t have to pick up and move,” he stresses.

Instead, he suggests taking some simple steps to minimize allergy discomfort:

1. Exercise early or late. At mid-day, higher temperatures and prevailing winds can stir up pollen, exacerbating symptoms during exercise and other outdoor activities.

2. Move potted plants outdoors. When indoor plants begin to bloom, allergy sufferers can experience a surge in unpleasant symptoms. Move any offending species outdoors until sensitivity abates.

3. Banish household mold. Check for signs of moisture in carpeting and other home furnishings and air completely until dry. Also check outside your house for sources of standing water and mold-provoking dampness.

4. Replace pillows regularly. Down pillows are particularly prone to mold and dust mites. Encase new pillows in mite-proof covers to minimize problems and extend their life.

5. Control symptoms with medications. There are many effective allergy medications on the market with few side effects, unlike older drugs that caused drowsiness. These medications can help control such symptoms as sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat, and itchy, watery eyes. Some allergy sufferers experience headaches and dizziness and may feel unsteady, or “wobbly,” on their feet.

“Consult a physician well-versed in allergy medications and follow a prudent course of treatment,” Mosenifar advises.