Dr. Curt Dill, Chief, Emergency Department, VA's Manhattan Campus
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 25 million people - including almost 7 million children - have asthma, resulting in nearly 2 million Emergency Department visits a year.
“Spring is here and so is the pollen that cause seasonal allergies. Since this past winter was particularly warm, some vegetation is growing early, and some people will have a worse time. There are, however, a number of things to do to live well with asthma even during the tough seasons,” said Dr. Curt Dill, Chief of the Emergency Department at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System's Manhattan Campus.
Dr. Dill advised, “If you have asthma, you should learn to recognize and avoid your triggers. If the spring makes you cough and wheeze, then you may want to get tested to see what the culprit is and then you can follow the local weather broadcasts to see if your nemesis is out in force. Also, your healthcare provider can prescribe some preventative medications for the time you are at risk. For other people, molds are the problem and damp days are more problematic."
There are some things you can do to protect yourself from an attack if you are susceptible to asthma:
• Close your windows at night to keep pollen and mold from coming in.
• Use an air conditioner
•Drive with your car windows closed and your fan set on recirculation
• If you do exercise outdoors, do so at night rather than in the morning, when pollen counts high
• Plan recreation at the beach
- Rinse off in the shower after spending time outside
Dr. Dill also cautioned, "If you do take medications, remember to take them before symptoms start; if you are going into a high-risk area and don't overuse short-term rescue inhalers if you are short of breath. It is easier for your doctor to control your symptoms if you get checked sooner rather than later. Also if you are coughing a lot, you should get checked because it might be asthma."
It's a good idea to check your prescriptions now to be sure you don’t run out when you need them.
If you are registered, In Person Authenticated and opted in to Secure Messaging with a MyHealtheVet Account you can Refill Medications and ask a Pharmacist questions related to medications and not have to come to the VA. All you have to do is go to www.myhealth.va.gov /
• login to account
• select Pharmacy
• select Refill Medication
• click on box on the right of the refill needed
• select submit refills at the bottom right of page
• receive refills 7 to 10 days after submitted at your address
To Secure message the Ask the Pharmacy group:
You would do the following:
• select Secure message
• open the section open
• select new message
• select the team you would like to speak with
• write message and send
• you will receive a message within 3 business days.