Does eating local honey ease seasonal allergy symptoms?

You've probably heard that eating local honey can help ease your seasonal allergy symptoms. The idea is that bees transfer pollen spores from area plants to their comb, so ingesting that honey will increase your tolerance for those allergens, gradually building immunity over time. However, many experts say there is no compelling evidence to suggest this belief is true.

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Early Exposure To Bacteria Protects Children From Asthma And Allergies

Babies who are exposed to both bacteria and allergens in the first year of life are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, a study finds. It's the latest wrinkle in the hygiene hypothesis — the notion that exposure to bacteria trains the infant immune system to attack bad bugs and ignore harmless things like pollen and cat dander. Read more


Family Medicine Services Can Increase Access to Allergy Care

UAS Advisory Board Member Bernice Gonzalez, MD, of Vital Life Wellness Center in San Antonio, has written an article that focuses on expanding access to allergy treatment through the primary care setting as part of the June issue’s theme, “The Fate of Specialties.”

Please see attached for a copy of the article. San Antonio Medicine is a monthly magazine produced by the Bexar County Medical Society

San Antonio Medicine


Is It Allergies Or A Cold? 5 Ways To Tell

Seasonal allergies and colds share some common symptoms, so it may be hard to tell the two apart.

Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose and congestion. There are some differences, though. Additionally, colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but these symptoms can also occur in people with hay fever who have post-nasal drip. Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.

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Tips for a Healthier Home

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Jun 4, 2014) - (Family Features) Every household has its honey-do list, but inevitably you're not always going to have time to cross off every project on the list. Rather than setting lofty goals that make it easy to procrastinate, the key to a productive and effective list is to be realistic. Start with the projects that will have an immediate effect on creating and maintaining a safer and healthier home.

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Hay Fever & Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction to the environment caused when plants release pollen into the air, usually in the spring or fall. A colloquial term for seasonal allergies — and the inflammation of the nose and airways (and all that comes with it) — is hay fever, but that's a misnomer — those suffering from hay fever almost never get a fever, and hay is not the culprit. Doctors and researchers prefer the term "allergic rhinitis."

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Why Do Some People Develop Allergies as Adults?

Some children seem to outgrow allergies. But adults who have never had problems with pollen suddenly can start suffering the runny nose and itchy eyes of hay fever. To find out why, we turned to James Sublett, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and a practicing immunologist in Louisville, Ky. (Coincidentally, Louisville was identified by medical experts as the most challenging city for allergy sufferers for 2014.)

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Clearing the Air: United Allergy Services

President & CEO Nick Hollis is featured on the cover of NSIDE magazine, a Texas-based business and healthcare magazine. Click the link below for an online preview of the magazine or open the pdf of the cover and feature article.

TxMDCover_Houston_MayJune2014

Online Link

http://issuu.com/getnside/docs/nsidetx_md_sa_mayjune2014

PDF

Texas MD- May/June 2014


The Case Against Antibacterial Soap

It's been ingrained in us since childhood. Don't want to get sick? Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. But the same compound we entrust to fend off the sniffles could actually be harming us—and creating an army of superbugs in the process. It's time to ban antibacterial soap.

If that sounds farfetched or alarmist, it shouldn't. In fact, it's already happening. Just this past Tuesday, Minnesota became the first state to ban antibacterial soaps loaded with something called triclosan, a nasty little chemical that comes with a whole host of problems. And you can find it in about 75% of all liquid soaps on the market.

Other states are almost certain to follow in Minnesota's footsteps, but even that ruling doesn't officially go into effect until 2017. So there's a good chance that you'll be seeing the stuff on drug store shelves for years to come. If you do, steer clear.

It Doesn't Actually Help

Ever since triclosan-inclusive products made their way into the home in the 90s, we've put the stuff in everything from liquid soaps and makeup to cutting boards and mattress pads.

Considering how prevalent the chemical is in our daily lives, it may surprise you that the FDA has never observed evidence that triclosan-based "antibacterial" soap has any benefit over non-drug-laced varieties. Even though the FDA published guidelines for chemicals in liquid soaps back in 1978, the agency never actually got around to finalizing them—meaning soap companies have never had any federally mandated rules to follow regarding chemical additives.

What the original 1978 draft did find, though, was that triclosan was totally ineffective. The FDA may not have proven definitively yet that antibacterial soap is safe, but they have proven, after 42 years of research and independent studies, it has zero health benefits over normal soap and water.

That's right: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states outright that triclosan soaps are no more beneficial to a user's health than the regular, non-antibacterial soaps our grandparents lathered up with. Straight from the agency itself:

FDA has not received evidence that the triclosan provides an extra benefit to health. At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

And despite your elementary school flu season training, washing your hands with antibacterial soap won't help you stave off that fever. As the name might imply, antibacterial soap targets bacteria—which are a different animal from the viruses that cause the common cold and flu.

Frequent hand washing is a very good idea when contagious diseases are floating around, but it's the washing, not the triclosan, that lessens your chance of getting sick. Using an antibacterial drug to fight a virus is like setting mouse traps to get rid of ants.

But It Might Hurt

As it turns out, triclosan is good at something; it helps fight gingivitis. But unless you're brushing your teeth with Dawn (please don't), that doesn't mean it belongs in soap. The reality is that antibacterial soap isn't really doing you any good; in fact, it's more likely that it's causing harm.

In multiple animal studies, triclosan has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, the complex interplay of hormones that regulate most aspects of an animal's growth and reproduction. Exposure to triclosan has been shown to reduce sperm count in male fish, speed up the onset of puberty in female mice, and decrease the presence of thyroid hormones in male rats. Because of these findings in animal studies, the FDA and EPA are collaborating on research to study the drug's effect on the human endocrine system.

There's already some evidence of human side effects, though: a small study in Norway showed that children with higher concentrations of triclosan in their urine (a measure of triclosan exposure) were more likely to develop seasonal allergies.

Just this past December, the FDA issued a proposed ruling that would require antibacterial soap manufacturers to prove—with actual data—that their products "are safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections." So while the FDA isn't ringing alarm bells quite yet, it clearly thinks there's more to triclosan and compounds like it than what we currently know.

It's an Environmental Mess

We're not just hurting ourselves with our antibacterial soap addiction, though; it could also be doing harm to the world around us.

Not only is triclosan rinsed down our drains in enormous quantity, it's also used in some types of pesticides, meaning the compound finds its way into our waterways via sewage treatment plants and trickle-down filtration. The EPA says that triclosan may attach to suspended solids and sediments in waterways, meaning that critters higher on the food chain could carry higher concentrations of the compound, which is a problem when it reaches the creatures we catch and eat.

But it's not just the animals. Some studies have shown that plants grown in environments contaminated with triclosan actually soak up the compound and metabolize it, creating a bevy of new triclosan-embedded compounds that scientists are only just beginning to monitor in the plants that we eat.

In fact, our antibacterial soap is probably doing a much better job killing ocean life than anything living on our skin. According to a recent study, triclosan is 100 to 1,000 times more effective "in inhabiting and killing algae, crustaceans, and fish" than they are at killing microbes. Which is good news if you hate our ocean friends and bad news for everyone else.

And Leaves Us Vulnerable

As if all that wasn't enough bad news, it gets worse. Slathering everything we own in a layer of triclosan could very likely be the genesis of an antibacterial-resistant superbug.

Of course, that's an inherent risk when any antibacterial compound gets widespread use. Bacteria will almost always develop ways to resist a drug, regardless of how it's deployed. Life finds a way! The problem is, when a drug is everywhere, as triclosan seems to be, developing resistances happens at a wildly quicker rate.

And it doesn't end there. When bacteria develop resistance to one drug, that resistance often extends to other, similar drugs. We're already seeing some bacteria with resistance to triclosan, and researchers fear that triclosan-resistant strains of e. coli and salmonella could also become resistant to the heavy-duty antibacterial drugs used to fight serious bacterial infections in a hospital setting.

So what's the answer? Just use regular soap. The cold, hard truth is that antibacterial soaps don't carry any real benefit. And the companies that make them have known this all along. Take a close look at anyantibacterial soap label the next time you're at the grocery store. It'll probably say something like "kills 99.9% of the most common bacteria."

Not "all" bacteria. Not "the really nasty, mess you up bacteria." Just "the most common bacteria." The normal flora that's always present on your skin and that (barring a few rare, serious medical conditions) isn't going to cause you any problem. In fact, a good, vigorous scrubbing with regular ol' soap and water will pretty much obliterate any germs you're looking to expunge.

So the next time you see your kid coming home covered in dirt, you'll still need to wash them (for god's sake wash them), but leave the antibacterial soap where it belongs—wasting away on some drug store shelf, waiting for the FDA to drop the boom.

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By Ashley Feinberg and Robert Sorokanich
May 22, 2014
gizmodo.com


'Allergy-Friendly' Airline Is Now A Thing Thanks To Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss International Air Lines is taking one step toward a more allergy-friendly travel experience, and they mean business. The airline is the first of its kind to be certified as "allergy-friendly" by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation.

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