By: Justin Ceravolo, PharmD, pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy
It’s that time of year again – the sniffling, sneezing and suffering of allergy season caused by the telltale yellow dust that blankets Southwest Florida for months.
With longer and warmer seasons each year, the spring and fall pollen is literally and figuratively growing worse. Right now, the biggest offenders like tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed pollen are blowing through our breezy coastal region.
These tiny airborne allergens easily get inside your body, and when they do, your immune system goes into defense mode. To combat these intruding allergens, your body releases a chemical, called histamine, which triggers a familiar response you might recognize: sneezing, itchy throat, runny nose or teary eyes.
If you are an allergy sufferer, you are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America, more than 50 million people struggle with it every year.
In its latest 2021 Allergy Capitals report, AAFA placed a Southwest Florida region on its top 50 list of most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies. Cape Coral was ranked No. 33 for allergies during spring season and No. 35 for the months during fall.
So, what can you do if you struggle with seasonal allergies and Southwest Florida is your home? A few proactive steps to recognize, prevent and manage symptoms will bring hope to those with the seasonal stuffy blues.
Reduce Your Exposure
Before planning your day, check local news or the Internet for the area’s pollen count forecast.
Keep doors and windows shut to avoid pollen from coming indoors.
Delegate outdoor chores, such as mowing the lawn and gardening.
Keep floors cleaned and maintain air filters inside the home.
Avoid air-drying clothes and bedding outside where pollen can stick to it.
Prevent Spread & Symptoms
If high pollen counts are forecasted, take allergy medication before symptoms start.
After outdoor activities, change into clean clothes and shower to rinse pollen from skin and hair.
Remove shoes, jackets and hats at the front door.
Wipe pets down with a towel after playing outdoors.
Wear a pollen or dust mask for outdoor activities.
Nonprescription Medication & Remedies
Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching and runny noses.
Antihistamine eye drops can reduce itching and redness.
Specially formulated supplements may support healthy respiratory and immune systems.
Nasal rinse devices, such as a Neti pot, can flush out inhaled pollen and alleviate congestion.
Oral and nasal decongestants can offer temporary relief to help with nasal stuffiness.
Cromolyn sodium nasal sprays can help treat and prevent allergy symptoms.
When stubborn symptoms persist, your pharmacist or physician can identify which over-the-counter medicines are best suited to alleviate your symptoms. They can also help you navigate your options when more severe conditions must be addressed.
Treatment options to manage allergies can range from immunotherapy, such as shots, to prescription-strength antihistamines, decongestants and combination allergy drugs.
In addition, rescue inhalers and other medications can be prescribed for people diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma.
Amid the pandemic, a case of the sniffles, or hay fever, is the last thing you want to stress over. While allergies can’t be cured, they can certainly be managed. Having a seasonal action plan that attacks allergies first is a good place to start, and will keep you from playing catch-up once symptoms arise.
About the Author
Pharmacist Justin Ceravolo is a pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy, a compounding independent pharmacy providing pharmaceutical and healthcare services in Fort Myers for more than 40 years. Cypress Pharmacy offers traditional prescription medications and natural solutions to help patients manage symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. For more information, call 239-481-7322 or visit www.cypresspharmacy.com.
By: Barry Sonustun, Memory Support Program Manager for Gulf Coast Village
There is something quite magical about the metamorphosis of butterflies – each captivating stage that transforms a curious caterpillar into a Monarch butterfly with bright, golden wings. At Palmview, a specialized assisted living community in Cape Coral, these butterflies have become a source of joy for more than 45 memory support residents over the age of 62.
Since the pandemic, Palmview’s Memory Support team saw the need for more engaging and uplifting activities for residents.
In October, Palmview created a special environment that would liven up seating areas on the memory support floor. Specifically, a few spacious terraces that residents use to enjoy a warm coastal breeze.
By January, memory support welcomed a new bocce ball court, putting green, and Palmview-favorite Monarch butterfly garden.
What started off with the scattering of eggs on two milkweed plants is now a thriving garden with caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies expanding across the terrace.
“They’ll be all around my head,” joked 94-year-old Bella Kontinos, a memory support resident. “The butterflies, I just love them. I really do.”
Bella moved to Palmview in December and has not stopped finding ways to help wherever she can. With her infectious energy and willingness to help, the garden has quickly flourished to life.
In the last several months, team members and residents have poured time and resources into the project, caring for their tiny tenants in all stages of transformation.
“One day, I looked down and I couldn’t believe it. It was double the size,” recalled Bella about the monarch caterpillars. “It’s wonderful. It really is.”
To share more of these moments, staff has started to transfer chrysalises into terrariums to place throughout memory support hallways and bedrooms.
In a matter of 7 to 9 days, residents are enchanted by a breathtaking butterfly emerging from its cocoon, which then gets released onto the terrace garden.
With new special memories created on the memory floor, many residents find joy in recalling pastimes of family gardens and butterflies from childhood.
Overall, the therapeutic experience has inspired new hope for assisted senior living. A hope that residents see the beauty in their own lifelong transformation for a better, enriched life at Palmview.
About the Author
Barry Sonustun is the memory support program manager at Gulf Coast Village, Cape Coral’s premier continuing care retirement community, and spearheaded the efforts for a new bocce ball court, putting green, butterfly garden and other enrichment activities at Palmview.
An old phrase says, “Getting there is half the battle.”
Getting there should be half the fun… it just depends how you are getting there.
There are many ways to travel from Point A to Point B – vehicles, trains, boats, airplanes, bicycles or by foot. The fastest, of course, is an airplane.
Anyone who has flown commercially in the past year quickly realizes that air travel is not as fun as it was a generation ago. The aviation industry is evolving. Commercial airlines are transporting less than half of the passengers they did just one year ago. The perks of flying, like free carry-on baggage and in-flight snacks, are disappearing.
Meanwhile, private charter services are growing exponentially. They have brought fun, as well as convenience, back to flying.
“There’s no comparison,” said Chris Fraga after a recent private flight with Elite Jets. “You just show up five minutes before takeoff. It’s efficient, easy, safe and fun.”
A wealth manager from Naples, Fraga recently evaluated his options for a short trip. Fraga and seven others were traveling to see his godson, a football player for Northwestern University, play in the Citrus Bowl. Kickoff time was 1 p.m. in Orlando. Fraga evaluated his three travel options:
Drive: The trip is three-and-a-half hours each way, but likely longer given persistent traffic jams around Disney World, Universal Studios and downtown Orlando’s construction zone. With a party of eight, they would need to rent a van or drive separately. The mid-afternoon kickoff time meant they would have to depart pre-dawn and return after sunset, or stay overnight in a hotel.
Fly commercially: With no direct flights from RSW, he would need to connect through a hub like Atlanta, Charlotte or Cleveland. The total flight time, including a layover, would exceed five hours each way. Commercial airlines have limited flight availability, so Fraga’s party likely would have to leave a day before the game and return a day later, requiring two nights in a hotel.
Fly privately: The flight from Naples Airport to Orlando Executive Airport would be 35 minutes. Fraga’s traveling party could drive a few minutes to Naples Airport and enjoy free parking. Upon arrival in Orlando, it would just be a 10-minute shuttle ride to Camping World Stadium. After the game, the return route would be just as quick.
Fraga chose to fly privately. He reserved Elite Jets’ Embraer Legacy 500, a luxury jet featuring high-speed Wi-Fi, personalized temperature controls, recliner-like leather massaging seats and a digital entertainment system to watch movies, TV shows and news. Elite Jets passengers can also pre-select snacks and drinks, enjoy a fully stocked bar and even request a personal cabin attendant.
“It was an exciting day – my godson’s last college football game,” Fraga said. “We wanted to make it special. Everything about this trip was perfect. The jet was beautiful and well-maintained. The pilots were professional, positive and fun. The whole experience was amazing from start to finish.”
And Northwestern won.
Fraga isn’t the only leisure traveler in Southwest Florida to fly privately after considering their travel options. Below are four special occasions when private travel is a great choice:
The Big Game
Scoring tickets to championship-level events is a victory in itself, so celebrating aboard a luxury jet is icing on the cake.
Sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup and Daytona 500 or Indy 500 lend themselves to VIP treatment.
In less than two hours, golfers can be on the tee or watching PGA tournaments at Augusta National, Pinehurst and TPC Sawgrass. Southwest Florida is home to several beautiful courses, but flying privately with a group of golfing buddies makes a trip that much more enjoyable.
Bachelor or Bachelorette Parties
Some of America’s top destinations to let it all hang out are just a short flight from Naples.
Daytona Beach, Myrtle Beach, Atlantic City and New Orleans are fun destinations for a girls’ or guys’ weekend. Las Vegas is just four hours away.
Getting away from it all sometimes is the best medicine. Couples can rekindle their romance by booking a private charter to stay at a secluded log cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, a beachfront bungalow in the Caribbean or plantation home on Hilton Head Island.
About the Author
Stephen Myers is executive vice president of Elite Jets Charters, a Naples-based company with a fleet of four Phenom 300 jets, one Legacy 500 jet and one Bell 407 helicopter.
Sunshine Ace Hardware has long maintained a core value of “Care for your Neighbor.”
Meanwhile, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida promotes a tagline that states “Caring people caring for our little people.”
A partnership between our two caring entities is a natural fit.
For years, Sunshine Ace has supported dozens of nonprofit organizations that are the pulse of this community, including Golisano Children’s Hospital through the Lee Health Foundation. Countless children are alive and healthy today because of the world-class treatment and compassionate care they received from the hospital’s first-rate team of doctors, nurses and medical staff.
On Dec. 12, 2019, Lee Health announced that Golisano Children’s Hospital was becoming a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. That meant that all CMN donations collected in Southwest Florida, including Sunshine Ace, would provide direct support that stays right here in Southwest Florida to fund research and training, purchase equipment and pay for uncompensated care.
That same day, Sunshine Ace declared Children’s Miracle Network as its “primary charity partner” for 2020. Our team immediately began developing a series of fundraising initiatives, including multiple “Round Up for the Kids” charitable campaigns, the Blue Bucket Days campaign and a fundraising lunch at the Fifth Annual “Reel in the Sunshine” fishing expo. Our hope was to truly make a difference in the lives of local children and families – our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends and our children’s classmates.
Throughout 2020, even during some very challenging times, Sunshine Ace customers and associates stepped forward to help, like they have for generations. A dime here, a dollar there. By the end of 2020, the result was incredible. Customers at Sunshine Ace Hardware and Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware collectively raised $95,000 to support children’s health care. So many lives will be saved, cancers cured, diseases treated and broken bones fixed through our community’s generosity. Money raised at Sunshine Ace stores in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties supports Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers, while donations collected in Manatee and Pinellas counties support patients and families at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
We as a community are helping provide lifechanging medical treatments for sick and injured children. We as a community are funding innovative research initiatives and training programs so our children, now and in the future, can receive world-class health care in our own communities. We as a community are ensuring that all children have access to highly trained doctors and nurses, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
This is why Sunshine Ace has supported Children’s Miracle Network over the years and declared the nonprofit as our “primary charity partner.” It follows a similar move by Ace Hardware at the corporate level. Since Ace Hardware became a Children’s Miracle Network corporate partner in 1991, the company has helped raise more than $122 million for the cause. Imagine all of the children and families who have benefited from this generous support.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat one in 10 children in North America each year. Every day, its network of hospitals treats:
16,000 children with trauma
935 children with diabetes
2,218 children with cancer
925 babies in newborn intensive care units
2,329 children for surgeries
I was so proud to represent our customers, associates and community in presenting the donations to Golisano Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
This is what it means to “Care for your Neighbor.”
About the Author
Michael Wynn is president of Sunshine Ace Hardware, a locally owned company with nine locations in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Pinellas counties, as well as two Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware stores in Manatee County.
By Colleen DePasquale, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
While the end of 2020 is nearing, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect the local business community for months, and perhaps even years, to come.
Beyond the many changes implemented to keep employees safe and their companies operating, business owners have also had to respond to a shift in spending habits.
Consumer preferences have transformed due to the pandemic. Online spending increased greatly as people spent more time at home. In fact, a recent survey found that 45% of consumers say they do more than half of their current shopping online – nearly three times the pre-pandemic level. This impact becomes more apparent as we head into the holiday season, with the National Retail Federation reporting that 60% of consumers say they plan to purchase holiday items online this year.
Local spending is a powerful force for the small business community. Most importantly, this local spending ideology is not limited only to retail shopping. The need for spending our dollars locally extends to businesses of all types, from retail to restaurants to home repair to personal wellness.
Local businesses need our support now more than ever. That’s why the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce launched a local spending campaign, called “Nov(m)ember: Be a Local Spender with a Chamber Member.”
The campaign highlights this region’s many incredible businesses and urges our community to support local businesses throughout the holiday shopping season and beyond.
Spending locally offers many benefits to consumers and our community at large. Local businesses:
Support our local economy. The money you spend stays in our community.
Invest locally. Our business neighbors want our region to succeed and are invested in the well-being and future of our community. They are also more likely to support nonprofits and causes that improve our local community.
Offer unique, handcrafted and locally inspired products that are unlike anything you would find among mass-produced options.
Provide local jobs. The Florida Small Business Development Center reported that there are 2.5 million small businesses in Florida. Supporting the growth of local businesses also supports the growth of local job opportunities.
Offer better customer service. You are a familiar face to local business owners, not just another customer or client.
Make our community a better place to live. The character provided by local businesses helps make Southwest Florida a must-visit destination.
Are our neighbors. You know the people behind the product or service, and your support helps them succeed.
Fortunately, there are many ways to support local businesses, including:
Getting familiar with local businesses. If you need a resource, the Chamber offers a list of local businesses at FortMyers.org/NovMember.
Shopping, dining and utilizing their products and services.
Purchasing gifts and gift cards from a local business for friends and family members, introducing them to a new service or product.
Giving local businesses a shout-out on social media.
Leaving a positive online review or a kind note of encouragement.
Shopping online at local businesses and utilizing their safe pick-up options.
This year has been challenging for businesses across all industries. Our Southwest Florida business community needs our support now more than ever.
For whatever services you may require this season – think locally.