Allergies

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    The use of maggot therapy to treat calciphylaxis (calcium buildup in small blood vessels found in fat and skin tissue) has been reported. Additional research is needed.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    What is Skeeter syndrome?

    Skeeter syndrome is an allergic reaction to the protein in a mosquito's saliva, which makes the bites even more red and inflamed. Watch as allergist Clifford Bassett, MD, discusses how to treat these bites, and how to test for a mosquito allergy.

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    It's very important to alert others about allergies, especially if they are severe and life-threatening (for example, you have difficulty breathing if you come into contact with the particular agent). Medical alert tags are the easiest way to alert others to your allergy, especially if you are unable to do so yourself for some reason. It's important to keep in mind instances when you could potentially be exposed to your allergen, as well, like eating at a restaurant that may have peanuts in the food, and you should always alert your waiter and others to your allergy.
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    Anaphylaxis is defined as a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It must be quickly determined and treated to avoid a life-threatening situation. Death from anaphylaxis usually results from choking due to upper airway swelling or from breathing failure due to lung obstruction and, less commonly, from heart failure. Epinephrine must be administered when signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis appear to be life-threatening.
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    Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency requiring immediate help. 911 should be called immediately, as rapid treatment is essential in preventing further damage from the anaphylactic reaction. Treatment is highly effective especially if administered early. 
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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Here are some simple and practical allergy tips to help you start fighting fall allergies:

    Learn the Symptoms. Each year patients have the same question: How can I tell whether I have an allergy or a cold/sinus infection? In general, cold symptoms come on rapidly, while allergies occur with a pattern of exposure (after dusting, raking leaves, or pet exposure). Also, "itchiness" is often present with allergies.

    Remember your allergy medications won't work if you have sinusitis or a bad head cold. After a careful examination and some simple tests, your doctor can help determine whether it's an allergy or cold/sinus infection.

    Watch What You Eat. It's not just what's in the air that can wreak havoc on your seasonal allergies. What you eat can have an impact as well. Watch out for fresh foods including melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, banana, chamomile tea, and zucchini. Up to one third of ragweed allergy sufferers can actually experience worsening of their symptoms (itchiness of the mouth, tongue, and throat) with these foods. Although echinacea may be used to fight "colds and viruses," it can worsen your seasonal allergies if you are sensitive to ragweed and weeds, as a result of a cross-reaction.

    Minimize Indoor Allergens. As you spend more time indoors during fall, you may experience a worsening of your allergies. Exposure to indoor allergens, particularly pets, mold spores, and dust mites can ratchet up your suffering. Ten percent to 15 percent of allergic individuals are allergic to their pets and may develop respiratory symptoms during the early to mid-fall as a result of increased indoor exposure. Have a plan in place, such as a High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) type vacuum and/or HEPA central and/or room air purification, and possibly a dehumidifier if your symptoms are triggered by mildew and mold conditions.

    Know Your Indoor Moisture Levels. Monitor your indoor humidity level (amount of moisture in the air) and attempt to keep it 50 percent or lower to avoid triggering mold and dust mite allergies. A low-cost hygrometer (less than $10) can help ensure optimal indoor humidity levels in your home. Too many indoor houseplants can also add to increased indoor humidity as a result of added moisture and molds.

    Wash It Out. It's important to wash any fall or winter clothing that has been in storage where dust and molds may have accumulated on them. Wash them thoroughly before wearing them.
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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Here are some tips to help prevent seasonal and indoor allergies when traveling:
    • Plan ahead, bring all allergy and asthma medications.
    • Sunglasses block out pollens (especially on windy days).
    • Wash wisely: Shampoo your hair nightly and avoid hair "gels" that trap pollens and gently irrigate your eyelids with mild, tear free shampoo after outdoors.
    • Take allergen pillow encasing with you.
    • Check out pollen count and forecast before you travel -- know peak pollen season wherever you travel to prevent symptoms.
    • Exercise indoors or avoid early morning when pollen levels are typically higher [windy days are associated with highest pollen levels].
    • By the "sea": Pollen levels are generally lower by a beach, river or lake, or any body of water or the mountains as dust mites won't thrive above higher elevations about 2,500 feet.
    • Pack your medications in "original" labeled bottles and containers -- keep on "carry on" and not luggage, in case of loss or theft.
    • If traveling by car, roll up windows and use the air-conditioner on "do not recirculate."
    • Call your hotel and see if they have "green" allergy friendly room, get a no smoking room, request wood, tile or vinyl floors in lieu of "carpeted" rooms.
    • Request a no smoking rental car, whenever possible.
    • Keep nasal saline with you on longer flights to keep your nose moist.
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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Here are some rules to help prevent allergy attacks during Christmas season:

    Rule # 1 -- Keep your decorations "off season" in enclosed containers, this will reduce dust and mildew from accumulating -- and avoid sniffles when opened.

    Rule # 2 -- Avoid artificial "snow sprays" that can aggravate your sinuses, eyes and cause annoying respiratory symptom including cough.

    Rule # 3 -- Watch out for those lovely holiday decorations like "poinsettias", if you have skin allergies, especially if you have a sensitivity to rubber, it may cause an itchy rash.

    Rule # 4 -- Don't bring in wood for the fireplace until needed, it may bring mildew and molds into your home, especially when not completely dry or damp.

    Rule # 5 -- Watch out for those pesky mold spores if you have a natural, fresh Christmas tree in your home, especially if you have indoor allergies!

    Rule # 6 -- If you humidify your home, measure the indoor humidity level with a low cost hygrometer, and keep the level of humidity at 50% or less.

    Rule # 7 -- It may be best to avoid wood burning stoves or direct exposure to poorly ventilated home fireplace, especially if you have asthma or respiratory problems.

    Rule # 8 -- Stay away from scented candles and potpourri, incense, room fragrance devices that can irritate your eyes and nose as well as your breathing.

    Rule # 9 -- Wash all non-porous holiday decorations with warm soapy water to clean off dust and mildew before placing on your tree and other areas of the home.

    Rule # 10 -- A High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) air cleaner (both a portable room unit and/or central heating/ventilation system) can help to reduce indoor allergens and pollutants.
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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    The asthma & allergy friendly certification program was created by top medical experts and the oldest and largest not-for-profit asthma and allergy patient advocacy organization in the world with the mission to empower consumers to make an informed purchase decision when choosing allergen-avoidance products. The asthma & allergy friendly certification program, administered by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in partnership with the international research organization Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), is an independent program created to scientifically test and identify consumer products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies.

    The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients' rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures.

    Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) is a physician-led global certification company that prepares independent standards for testing a wide range of products to determine their suitability for asthma and allergy patients. ASL's management team possesses specialist skills in a variety of medical fields including asthma and other allergic diseases.
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    AClifford Bassett, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    About one third to one half of patients with seasonal allergies show sensitivity to the following foods that can cross-react with some pollens.

    Cross reactors of alder tree pollen:
    • almonds
    • apples
    • celery
    • cherries
    • hazel nuts
    • peaches
    • pears
    • parsley
    Cross reactors of birch tree pollen:
    • almonds
    • apples
    • apricots
    • carrots
    • celery
    • cherries
    • coriander
    • fennel
    • kiwifruit
    • nectarines
    • parsley
    • parsnips
    • peaches
    • pears
    • peppers
    • plums
    • potatoes
    • prunes
    • soy
    • wheat
    • Potential: hazel nuts and walnuts
    Cross reactors of grass pollens:
    • melons
    • tomatoes
    • oranges
    Cross reactors of mugwort and weed pollens:
    • carrots
    • celery
    • coriander
    • fennel
    • parsley
    • peppers
    • sunflower
    However, it should be noted that reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group. Often well-cooked, canned, or frozen food offenders cause no reaction.