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Articles > Passing on allergies to children; sun allergy; stress triggered asthma; asthma and warmer weather

Passing on allergies to children; sun allergy; stress triggered asthma; asthma and warmer weather

Q&A: Ask the experts. Asthma and heat, hereditary allergies and more! Advice that will help you breathe easier.

Health Monitor Staff

Provided by HealthMonitor

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Can we pass on our allergies?
Q: My husband and I both have allergy symptoms year-round, and I'm worried our kids are doomed to the same stuffy noses and red burning eyes. Am I right to be concerned?
A: Unfortunately, if you and your husband have allergies, chances are your kids will develop them, too. When one parent has allergies, a child has a 30% to 40% chance of being allergic to something'and if both parents are allergic, that risk goes up to 75%. Yet while you can't control your children's genes, you can control other factors that may contribute to allergies'things like respiratory infections, air pollutants and diet. If you suspect your child may be allergic, have a doctor do a skin test that can help pinpoint a specific allergen.'Dean Mitchell, MD, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York

Help! The sun makes me itchy
Q: If I'm out for an afternoon in the sun, I sometimes feel itchy afterward. Could I be allergic to sunlight? How would I know, and what can I do?
A: Sun allergy, or photosensitivity, is pretty uncommon. My guess is you're forgetting to put on sunscreen and are simply feeling the effects of a mild sunburn. If you do protect your skin, try checking the labels on your medications'certain ones can make you more sensitive to sunlight. If you take those precautions and the problem continues, talk to your doctor about it.'Dean Mitchell, MD

Is heat heating up my asthma?
Q: I notice as it gets warmer outside, my asthma acts up. Is it just my imagination?
A: Nope'and you have plenty of company, as many people with asthma say their condition worsens as the mercury rises. Exactly why this happens isn't known'it could be that warmth and humidity coincide with the release of pollen and other airborne irritants. If you notice that you're especially sensitive to changes in the air, keep an eye on the daily forecast'especially the barometric pressure report, which tracks fluctuations in air pressure that could trigger an attack. And always have an inhaler on hand to keep from feeling under the weather!'Michael Welch, MD, Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and Research Center, San Diego

Anxiety makes my asthma worse
Q: My asthma seems to be triggered when I'm stressed. How can I relax?
A: Stress is an aggravator for all chronic conditions, including asthma. When you're feeling anxious or panicked, you tend to take shorter, more shallow breaths, which can cause an attack. But don't stress about stress! Instead, try practicing some deep-breathing exercises to defuse tension and manage your asthma.'Michael Welch, MD
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