- Written by Varisa Perlman, MD
It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I join Miami Beach Pediatrics! Newsletters like this are just one of the many ways that the professionals at this practice educate and empower their families. As for me, I will be articulating personal observations about health and happiness in Miami Beach and will be highlighting articles that enhance understanding of medical care today.
Having recently moved from the Detroit area, it is so interesting to compare the health experiences patients "up-north" encounter with the issues encountered by patients here.
I would like to highlight the importance of ventilation. Coming from a climate that was constantly changing, I have become adept at understanding the impact of allergens on health. Between dust, pollen, ragweed and mold, my patients in Michigan were constantly battling persistent coughs and sinus drainage. These experiences have left me attuned to the role environment plays on one's overall health and happiness.
Both before and after we arrived in Miami, many warned us that we would be facing unbearably hot, humid summers. While it of course is hot and humid, I can happily report that upon moving to Miami, my family's seasonal allergies have been much improved, as we have enjoyed the warm, moist and salty air outside. Interestingly, however, we have found that our familiar drainage issues reappear when we stay indoors too much or when we do not adequately ventilate our rooms. I have also found that most indoor environments are over air-conditioned. For example, as most Miamians know, going out for dinner involves bringing an extra layer of clothing to avoid getting frozen inside, despite the balmy weather outside!
From a medical perspective, I have noticed that many patients are generally well during the November through March period, but have a significant increase in drainage/infectious issues beginning in April and May. One reason for this increased sensitivity during the summer is that for Florida residents (much like winter up north), summer is a time of hunkering down inside, dependent on artificial ventilation sources (air conditioning).
Of course none of us are going to give up our air conditioning, nor should we do so. However, we should take heed of the fact that any problems posed by indoor allergens or toxins are magnified by insufficient ventilation. Therefore, on a pragmatic level, several simple steps can minimize the effects of indoor living:
- Open your windows once a day for fifteen minutes (you can leave the door to the room closed while you air it out)
- Try to spend at least some time outside every day, during the least heat-intensive times of day. Even a nice stroll in evening can give everyone a respite from indoor allergens!
- Change your air conditioner filters regularly to ensure that your ventilation systems are regularly maintenanced and in good working order
- Use a dust cover (basically an extra sheet or comforter) when the bed is empty.
- Avoid allergens by not sleeping with any pets or stuffed animals.
I look forward to meeting all our families and, remember, enjoy the
beautiful air of Miami, even in the summer!