Close

Member Secure Log In

Please sign in using the form below
Close

Provider Secure Log In

Please sign in using the form below
Monthly Health Topics

Prevention is Your Best Medicine for Allergies

By Susan Beane, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director, Healthfirst
Allergy symptoms are a concern for many, even though we’re heading into the summer months. Flowers and trees bloom at different times, releasing pollen into the air and causing those familiar allergy symptoms you may be having, such as sneezing, watery eyes, itching, and dry coughing.
My colleague Jorge Cornielle, M.D., who practices at Boston Road Pediatrics in the Bronx, recommends a proactive approach when it comes to allergies. “The best medicine is prevention,” he says. “So we can educate our children on the different ways to prevent allergies.”
The best way to prevent allergies and reduce your need for medicine is to avoid allergens as much as possible and to eliminate the source of allergens from your home and other environments.
Avoiding the outdoors on high-pollen days is something you might want to consider. You can check pollen counts for different regions of the country by visiting the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) website to help plan your day.
But if going outside is unavoidable, Dr. Cornielle recommends talking with your doctor to consider the right antihistamine medication for you. There are many safe prescription and nonprescription medicines available to relieve allergy symptoms. If you have seasonal allergies every year, he recommends that you take medication even before your symptoms begin.
Insects and their incessant bites are also a summertime allergy concern. Insect-sting allergies are said to be on the rise, with five percent of Americans now affected, according to the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Dr. Cornielle recommends the use of insect repellent to prevent insect bites when you go outside. If you have a more severe reaction to bug bites, you might want to think about venom immunotherapy, a form of allergy shots taken over the course of months or years to provide protection.
So next time you head outside, try packing your insect repellent and your allergy medication to make this summer as enjoyable as possible.
Dr. Beane is Vice President and Medical Director at Healthfirst®. For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit the Healthfirst website at www.healthfirst.org

Medicaid Managed
Care and Child Health Plus

1-866-463-6743
Monday - Friday, 8am to 6pm

TTY English: 1-888-542-3821
TTY Español: 1-888-867-4132
FIDA Participant Services
1-855-675-7630

TTY English: 711
Monday - Sunday, 8am to 8pm
Become a Medicare
Plan Member

1-877-237-1303
Monday - Sunday, 8am to 8pm

TTY English: 1-888-542-3821
TTY Español: 1-888-867-4132
The Essential Plan
and Leaf Plans

1-888-250-2220
Monday - Friday, 8am to 8pm
Total Plan and
Pro Plan Members

1-855-789-3668

TTY English: 1-855-779-1033
Monday - Friday, 8am to 6pm
Employer Services
1-855-949-3668
Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm
Broker Services
1-855-456-3668
Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm
Current Medicare
Plan Members

1-888-260-1010
Monday - Sunday, 8am to 8pm

TTY English: 1-888-542-3821
TTY Español: 1-888-867-4132
Senior Health Partners
1-866-585-9280
Monday - Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 10am to 6:30pm

TTY English: 1-888-542-3821
TTY Español: 1-888-867-4132
Personal Wellness Plan
1-855-659-5971

TTY English: 1-888-542-3821
7 days a week, 24 hours a day
We can call you