The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and — achoo!

Spring, for all of the beauty it brings, can also be a time of suffering for those with allergies and asthma. Warming temperatures, rising humidity and blooming flowers and trees can trigger sneezing and wheezing for many people.


In fact, more than 100 million people in the United States have asthma and/or allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). That’s why the AFFA declared May National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, to help raise awareness and help alleviate suffering. In addition, May 12-18 is Food Allergy Awareness Week, in honor of the 33 million Americans who have serious, and even life-threatening allergies to food.


While there’s no cure for allergies or asthma, there are changes you can make that could help you breathe a bit easier. If you, or someone you love, knows what it’s like to have allergies and asthma, read on for some tips that may help keep you feel stronger, and keep your symptoms at bay.


  1. Spring into your spring cleaning. “Allergen” is the name for a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Common allergens include dust, pollen, mold and mites—all of which can be too tiny to even see. But even if these villains aren’t visible, it’s important to give your house a deep clean. Disinfect surfaces, vacuum floors and wash your bedding and pillows regularly. To keep your allergies and asthma from flaring as you clean, wear a mask or enlist help.

  2. Keep your air clean. Clean air is important for everyone, and especially those who are sensitive. Establish some rules for people in your house so that you can all work together to keep the atmosphere clean. For example, don’t allow people to smoke tobacco products and avoid using items with strong scents, such as candles and chemical-filled cleaners. When pollen and pollution are high outside, keep your windows closed and wear a mask if you must go out.  Replace the filters in your HVAC system regularly, and consider investing in a good air purifier for your home.

  3. Advocate for clean environments outside of your home, too. If you or your family have trouble with allergies or asthma at work or school, speak up. Ask how you can work with the facilities to address any problems and make changes. In doing so, you could also be helping other individuals, too.

  4. Try breathing exercises. Some people with asthma find that breathing exercises can actually help them feel better. According to AAFA, breathing exercises can help strengthen the muscles involved in breathing, improve lung health and promote relaxation. Talk to your doctor about whether breathing exercises could be right for you.

  5. Stay active. If you have asthma or allergies, it can be tempting to skip out on your workout. But according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, exercise can help strengthen the muscles you use for breathing and improve the way your airways function. Just be sure to listen to your body and know when enough is enough. And talk to your healthcare provider before you start a new routine.

  6. Educate yourself. When you learn more about asthma and allergies, you can better understand and empathize with others. For example, food allergies impact nearly 20 million people in the U.S., and children who develop food allergies are more likely to also develop asthma and other allergies.  
  7. Make an appointment for a check-up. If you haven’t seen your healthcare provider lately, May is a great time for a checkup! Your healthcare provider can make sure you’re up to date on all of your vaccines and screenings, and can check in with you about how you’re feeling. They can also offer personalized health advice to prepare you for spring allergy season!