Environmental Control Measures

Pollen Pollen is everywhere and in most places, it is around for a majority of the year.  It travels through the air and it is inhaled, causing both sensitization and symptoms in those already sensitized.  Although difficult to avoid, there are some ways to limit your exposure: Keep the windows closed in your home and car during the pollen season. Stay inside or limiting your time outdoors when pollen counts are high. Stay indoors during midday and afternoon when pollen counts are typically highest. Enjoy the outdoors after a good hard rain, which will have cleared pollen out f the air. Wear a mask when you are doing yard-work such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves. After spending time outside, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to avoid prolonged pollen exposure. Replace the filters in your air conditioning/heating system often (at least every 90 days). Dry your clothes in a dryer, rather than outdoors. Dust Mites Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in carpets, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedding. They are present even in the cleanest of homes, and it is extremely difficult to completely rid your home of their presence. However, you can limit your contact with them by taking the following steps: Put special dust-proof covers on pillows, mattresses, and box-springs.  Remove and clean these cover on a regular basis. Avoid bedding stuffed with feathers, kapok, or foam rubber. Limit the number of stuffed animals in the bedroom or place them in a plastic container. Wash bedding and stuffed animal weekly in water that is at least 130°F. Cover windows with...

Over the Counter Medicines

Over the counter (OTC) medications for allergic diseases ALLERGIC RHINITIS Antihistamines and decongestants are the most common OTC medications for treating allergy symptoms. Antihistamines work well for symptoms of itching, runny nose and sneezing. There are oral antihistamines and antihistamines for the eye. Some oral antihistamines can cause drowsiness in some people. They work best when used regularly during your allergy season. Antihistamines work to block the affect of histamine, a substance your body makes and releases during an allergic reactions. Examples of common oral antihistamines include brand names such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec. All have generic versions. Oral antihistamines should be avoided in patients with angleclosure glaucoma, and prostate problems. Zaditor is an example of a antihistamine eye drop. Decongestants work to help reduce congestion by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow. There are nasal, eye and oral tablets available. Oral decongestants should be avoided in people with high blood pressure, heart problems, thyroid conditions, prostate problems and diabetes Nasal preparations should only be used for 3 to 5 days, longer use can cause rebound swelling in the nose. Decongestant Eye drops should also be used for only short periods of time and not used by people with glaucoma. Sudafed is a common brand name oral decongestant and Afrin and Neo-synephrine are common brand name nasal decongestants. These also have generic versions. There are combination oral medications and eye drops that have an antihistamine and a decongestant. Two OTC nasal sprays help with nasal symptoms. One is Nasalcrom, this spray prevents and relieves runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. It works best if...

Stress Reduction

1. Take the time to prioritize daily objectives. By focusing on the most important tasks to get done, we eliminate the hustle and stress of trying to accomplish everything at once. 2. Cut personal Internet use by half. Technology has become a major element in most of our lives. Social networking, email, and web surfing can occasionally cause our minds to lose focus and wander through hundreds of topics, thoughts, and ideas. Try to use half your designated Internet time to explore new hobbies, exercise, or meditate. 3. Enjoy nature. When time permits – take a five to 10 minute break to step outside and breathe in some fresh air. Disconnect from the rest of the world and concentrate on the beauty of nature. 4. Eat slower. A lot of us tend to speed through meals – missing the chance to appreciate different textures and flavors. Start to chew foods slower and distinguish new tastes, aromas, and consistencies. 5. Connect with family and friends. We all try to make a considerable amount of time to spend with close friends and family. We discuss life events and exchange stories – but how often do we catch up while truly listening and connecting? Put away the cell phones and steer clear of noisy environments. Connect on a deeper level. 6. Make time for yourself. When did you last spend valuable time with yourself? Take a night to find a new book, watch a favorite movie, try yoga, meditate, or cook a new recipe. 7. Give yourself more time. Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan all our daily events. Next time you’re jotting down new tasks in your planner, factor in a few extra minutes...

Allergy Drops

Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) What is Sublingual Immunotherapy? Sublingual immunotherapy(SLIT) is an alternative way to treat allergies without injections. An allergist gives a patient small doses of an allergen under the tongue to boost tolerance to the substance and reduce symptoms. According to a 2009 World Allergy Organization (WAO) paper, SLIT is widely accepted and used in European, South American, and Asian countries as well as in Australia and is gaining interest from allergists in the United States. However, as neither the safety nor the efficacy of the procedure is as yet considered established by the FDA, SLIT is not approved in the United States and its usage is off-label. However, trials for FDA registration are ongoing, with aspects of therapy including best dose and treatment duration, lasting effect and the exact way SLIT works are all under investigation.  How Is Treatment Administered? An allergist must first use allergy testing to confirm the patients sensitivities. Once this is determined, an allergen extract is prepared in drop or tablet form and the patient is directed to keep it under the tongue for one to two minutes and then swallow it. The process is repeated from three days a week to as often as daily with recommendations that therapy is continued for three to five years to develop a lasting immunity. Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Effective and Safe? Most clinical trials and surveys published over at least 20 years show that SLIT is relatively safe and effective for the treatment of rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies to dust mites, grass, ragweed, cat dander, and tree pollens. As of June 2009, of 60 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies...

Allergy Shots

Allergy Shots Desensitization Immunotherapy Allergy Shots Allergy injections make you less allergic or tolerant of particular allergens such as animal dander, dust mites, mold and pollen. Allergy injections do not always entirely eradicate the allergy, but they do result in marked improvement in symptoms, decreased medication use and can prevent the progression of allergies to asthma and reduce pre-existing asthma. Allergy immunotherapy is most effective when administered along with appropriate environmental control measures and medication, if necessary. How do Allergy Shots Work? Allergy injections work by causing changes (Induce “tolerance”) in the immune system. These changes occur gradually over a period of many months. Patients receive injections initially 1-3 times weekly until a maintenance dose is reached. The schedule then progress to bi-weekly every 3 weeks until a monthly injection interval is reached. Weekly injections typically are necessary for the first 6-12 months. Injections begin with extremely dilute doses and then progress in a stepwise fashion until a concentrated therapeutic dose is achieved. Low-doses are initially necessary to safely “build tolerance.”  Allergy serum contains the things you are allergic (animal danders –cat, dog, horse, goat, cockroach allergen, dust mites, grass, molds, tress and weeds).  Desensitization for food is being researched. One or more formulas may be necessary and this is individually determined. How long do I Have to Take Allergy Shots? Immunotherapy is a long-term approach to your problem. The typical duration of an allergy desensitization treatment plan is 3 to 5 years. During the bulk of this period, injections will be administered on a 1 to 4 week schedule. Improvement should be noted within the first year. Additional years of...