Living With & Managing Allergies

Living With & Managing Allergies

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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Traveling during the holidays can be stressful, so it is absolutely essential to plan ahead if you have asthma, food allergies and other indoor allergies. Don't forget to bring your regular and "as needed" medications when traveling, especially because holidays are synonymous for delays in airports.

    Never pack your essential medications in the luggage. Always keep them on hand. Have a letter for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from your health care provider if you have to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.

    You can even call ahead to an airline and inquire if they will be serving nuts, a leading cause of food allergies.

    If you have indoor allergies and/or asthma it can be helpful to bring pillow and allergen-proof mattress covers to use when visiting family or staying at a hotel during your holiday. Don't forget to inquire if the hotel has allergy friendly "green" rooms available, which may be a good idea if you have asthma or indoor allergies.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Here are some allergy sufferer's tips for you and your yard:
    • Wear a pollen mask while gardening.
    • Keep grass cut short.
    • Avoid touching your eyes and nose while gardening.
    • Plan outdoor time for rainy, wet, cloudy and windless days -- which usually have lower pollen counts.
    • After yard work, leave your clothing outside of your bedroom, brush off your shoes and rinse your glasses. Also, wear gloves to minimize local contact and reduce irritation to the skin of your hands and arms.
    • Limit your gardening to short intervals on "high" pollen days.
    • If you are allergic to mold spores, avoid damp places and stagnant water.
    • Proximity and location of pollen-producing trees, shrubs and plants will affect your exposure to seasonal allergens.
    • Planting female trees in one's own yard may trap incoming airborne pollen from male plants.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Your home is filled with free-floating allergens such as pet dander (skin flakes from your cats and dogs) that find their way into your nose, throat, and ear passages, causing a scratchy throat, watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion. Regular cleaning keeps allergens from building up.

    Dust, sweep, and vacuum at least once a week, including curtains, blinds and vents. Whenever possible, use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which trap even the smallest microns of dust, as well as pet dander.

    Wear a dust mask when you clean to keep from breathing in the allergens you are trying to contain. Masks are cheap, and you can find them at your local drugstore or hardware store.

    Use a particle-trapping dust cloth instead of a feather duster. It will pick up the dust rather than just sending it in a flurry into your air.


    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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    A , Dentist, answered
    It all starts with nutrition. Seasonal allergies put your immune system on alert, stressing your body and increasing the need for nutritional support. Remember the A-list: Alkalizing, Anti-inflammatory, and Antioxidant-rich.

    Eat green leafy veggies and juices, lots of berries (especially blueberries), fresh fruits and vegetables. At the same time, avoid foods that produce mucus such as sugar, dairy, and wheat. Supplements such as grapeseed extract, quercetin, and vitamin C are also effective in reducing allergy symptoms.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Like in many cases, your best defense is a great offense, so be proactive and work with an allergist to develop a simple "allergy action plan", and follow some of these seasonal tips for effective control of your allergies:
    • Stress less. Try yoga, meditation and daily exercise to get the endorphins (chemicals produced and responsible for an exercise-induced feeling of wellbeing) going to promote a healthier lifestyle, and perhaps increase your chance of a better allergy control, when combined with appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription allergy care.
    • Plan ahead, and follow the weather and pollen forecasts when you expect to spend time outdoors, particularly on sunny, warm and windy days, when pollen levels are highest. Pollen counts are often lower by the beach or a body of water, such as a lake, river, etc.
    • Wash wisely! That's right use gentle eyelid irrigation and nasal saline sprays to wash and/or dilute pollens that have accumulated and cause itchy, red and watery eyes during the season. If you were outside during a high pollen day, consider shampooing your hair "nightly" and change your clothing before entering the bedroom to prevent "pollens" from being deposited onto your bedding. Hair gel and products can act like a "pollen magnet", too.
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    Stop pollen from entering your home by following these simple tips:
    • Use the dryer rather than outdoor clothing lines for laundry such as bedding and towels.
    • While a nice cross-draft could lower the power bill, those open windows are inviting pollen in. Try to keep the windows closed and just use the fans in your home.
    • Wipe down countertops and surfaces on a daily basis to get rid of any pollen that did come in, and prevent it from building up.
    • Give pets a good brushing and wipe down before bringing them back inside.
    Also, when driving, do not ride with the windows down, and wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. After being outdoors, immediately take a shower and wash your hair to get all the pollen off of you and to keep it from settling into your house.

    You can also take over-the-counter medication such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin or Zyrtec. If these don’t work, talk to your primary care doctor about other treatment options for your allergies.

    This content originally appeared on StoneCrest Family Physician's Blog.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Because the science of allergy is very involved and rapidly developing, and because commonly available medical treatment can fall wide of the mark, patients and patients' parents in their frustration are susceptible to misleading or false advice. Poorly supervised support groups are greenhouses for quack solutions and they grow like weeds. How can you tell a good group from a bad group? Talk about it with your specialist. But as a rule of thumb, avoid recommendations that endorse a magic bullet solution, that leave out hard science, that overemphasize certain foods, or that depend on tests chosen according to what your insurance will pay for.
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    Desensitization is a way to reduce or stop a response such as an allergic reaction to something. For example, if someone has an allergic reaction to something, the doctor gives the person a very small amount of the substance at first to increase his tolerance. Over a period of time, larger doses are given until the person is taking the full dose. This is one way to help the body get used to the full dose and to prevent the allergic reaction.
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    Perfume allergies at work can be a difficult problem, especially since dealing with them will require the cooperation of your coworkers. It is probably best to be open, non-confrontational and polite. Explain at an open meeting (as opposed to directly to the perfume user) that you have an allergy to perfumes. If your coworkers understand that the presence of perfumes makes it difficult for you to work, hopefully they will be understanding and either cut down on perfume or not use it at work altogether. If you have an Occupational Health department at work, consider asking them for assistance if all else fails.
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    A , Allergy & Immunology, answered
    When I was in training to be an allergist at a New York hospital, an industrialist who had allergies gave us the money to build an allergen-free room. He had used the new "clean room technology" in his business and was convinced he could treat allergy by putting asthmatics in this room. At best we got only mixed results. The asthmatics would live in this room for a few days. Allergens such as molds, mites, and foods were present even though the air was constantly filtered.