Respiratory Allergies

Respiratory Allergies

Dust, mold and pet dander are common triggers for allergies that affect the respiratory system, causing coughing, sneezing, congestion, sinus pressure and difficulty breathing. A cleaning routine that involves bleach and regularly vacuuming carpets and furniture and washing bedding can reduce these irritants. If your symptoms are hard to control, or if the substance that bothers you can’t be avoided, antihistamines or allergy shots might be needed.

Recently Answered

  • 1 Answer
    ADr. Clifford Bassett, MD, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Plants with bright, showy flowers are better for people who have allergies. Their pollen is large and because they are pollinated by insects, the pollen is seldom airborne. Plants that cause allergies usually have flowers that are small and insignificant looking and have no color for attracting nectar.

    The following trees, shrubs, and plants have been found to be better for people with allergies:
    • Alyssum
    • Apple
    • Azalea
    • Begonia
    • Cacti
    • Cherry
    • Clematis
    • Columbine
    • Crocus
    • Daffodil
    • Dahlia
    • Daisy
    • Dogwood
    • Dusty Miller
    • Geranium
    • Hibiscus
    • Hyacinth
    • Hydrangea
    • Impatiens
    • Iris
    • Lilac
    • Lily
    • Magnolia
    • Narcissus
    • Pansy
    • Pear
    • Petunia
    • Phlox
    • Plum
    • Roses
    • Salvia
    • Snapdragon
    • Sunflower
    • Tulip
    • Verbana
    • Viburnum
    • Zinnia
  • 3 Answers
    Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. Both cats and dogs spread allergens through their dander (dead skin cells), urine and saliva. That's why bathing and brushing your pet regularly may reduce your pet allergies significantly.

    However, the best way to minimize allergies from pets is to keep them outside most of the time. If you can’t keep your pets outside, limit them to one or two rooms of the house. Remember that pets can  carry allergens on their coats, so clean their fur and paws before they come inside.

    Hardwood, tile and linoleum floors are easier to clean and aren’t a haven for allergens like carpet is. Sweeping stirs up allergens, so clean floors with a damp mop instead.

    This content originally appeared on StoneCrest Family Physician's blog.
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  • 1 Answer
    ADr. Clifford Bassett, MD, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    There is a myth that pet allergies are caused by animal hair! It is actually a protein found in pet skin/dander, saliva and urine that causes the allergy. Hairless dogs are still going to have at least some allergen.
  • 1 Answer
    ADr. Phillip J. Landrigan, MD, Pediatrics, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    Wall-to-wall carpeting can generate lots of problems, from cradle to grave. New carpeting emits chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that are respiratory irritants. As new carpeting ages, it collects dust, which can trigger allergies and asthma. The inevitable coffee and juice spills encourage mold to grow in the carpeting, which can cause everything from sneezing and eye irritation to shortness of breath. You might think that shampooing your carpet would eliminate those problems. But rug shampoos aren’t the answer because they contain toxic respiratory irritants. When shampooed carpet dries, the shampoo residue (containing the toxic irritants) becomes airborne. Once inhaled, the residue can cause shortness of breath and wheezing. In fact, studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have shown that ingredients in rug shampoos cause respiratory irritation and allergy symptoms such as watering eyes.

    If you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your house, your best option is to replace all of it with machine-washable cotton or synthetic rugs. If you can replace only some of the wall-to-wall carpeting, start with your child’s room first.

    Of course, replacing the carpeting may not be an option for you. In that case, frequently vacuum the carpet and establish a “no food or drink” rule in rooms with carpet. Air out the house often, especially on those bright, dry days when the wind blows briskly through the house. And instead of using regular rug shampoos, try environmentally friendly products.
  • 2 Answers
    ADr. Clifford Bassett, MD, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    How can certain foods make my pollen allergies worse?

    If you have seasonal allergies, oral allergy syndrome can cause the foods you eat to make pollen allergies worse, due to a chemical cross-reaction. Watch as allergist Clifford Bassett, MD, explains oral allergy syndrome and the foods that trigger it.

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  • 1 Answer
    ADr. Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - pollen exposure

    People with allergies often make their suffering worse, says allergy specialist and Dr. Oz Show guest Clifford Bassett. In this video, Dr. Bassett tells Dr. Oz some of the best moves to make to reduce your exposure to pollen -- and cut down on itching, sneezing and misery.

  • 1 Answer
    AIntermountain Registered Dietitians, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Intermountain Healthcare
    If you test positive for dust mite allergy:

    • Wash bed linens and stuffed toys at least once a week in hot water to kill dust mites. The temperature of the water must be hotter than 130° to kill the  mites. (Everything on the bed should be washable with hot water -- sheets, pillowcases, any stuffed animals -- or have a special allergy cover.)

    • Put airtight covers around mattresses, box springs, pillows, and comforters.

    • If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpeting with solid surface flooring and washable throw rugs.

    • Regularly wipe furniture with a damp cloth each month during the winter season. Place filters over heater vents.

    • When possible, replace upholstered furniture with wood, leather, and vinyl furniture that can be easily wiped clean.

    • Keep indoor humidity to less than 50%. In dry areas of the West, this is usually easy to do (unless you have a swamp cooler or humidifier).
  • 2 Answers
    ADr. Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, Pediatrics, answered
    How can I lessen allergic reactions to pets?
    If a child is allergic to a pet, the recommendation is usually to get rid of the pet. However, in this video, I will give tips on how you can manage allergies with a pet in the house.
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  • 1 Answer
    ADr. Robin Miller, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - pets and child allergies

    Pets are not only great companions, but they can also keep children from developing certain allergies. In this video, Dr. Robin Miller reveals what steps you can take to help keep your child allergy-free.

  • 3 Answers
    ADr. Clifford Bassett, MD, Allergy & Immunology, answered
    Dr. Clifford Bassett - How can I minimize my allergic reaction to pollen?

    Eating certain types of fruits and vegetables can increase your chances of having allergy symptoms, says allergy specialist Dr. Clifford Bassett. To find out which foods can be problematic, watch this video.

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