Antibiotic Use in Infancy Could Increase Risk of Asthma: Childhood asthma and allergies linked to antibiotic use during first two years

(dailyRx News) The number of people with asthma has significantly increased over the last three decades. Different medical exposures during infancy may have something to do with the rising number.

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9 Spots Where Allergy Triggers Hide

You may think you’ve got allergy and asthma triggers under control in your own home. But do you really? Allergic Living helps root out some crafty culprits that have your household wheezing and sneezing:

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Got the sniffles? Migraines spike with allergies and hay fever, researchers find

CINCINNATI— People with migraine who also battle allergies and hay fever (rhinitis) endure a more severe form of headaches than their peers who struggle with migraine, but aren't affected by the seasonal or year-round sniffles, according to researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC), Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Vedanta Research.

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Study: Hay Fever More Commonly Found In Southern U.S. Kids

Children in the southern United States are more likely to suffer from hay fever, according to research conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

Researchers looked at data from over 91,000 kids, finding that over 18 percent suffered from the disorder. Hay fever rates were highest in the southern and southeastern U.S., while the lowest rates occurred in Alaska, Montana and Vermont.

"According to the study, wetter regions with average humidity were associated with a decreased number of children with hay fever," said Dr. Micheal Foggs, president elect of the ACAAI. "The study also found areas of the south with warm temperatures and elevated UV indexes seem to harbor more hay fever sufferers."

Over the counter hay fever remedies include nasal corticosteroid sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, montelukast (Singulair), allergy shots and sinus rinses.


by RTT Staff Writer
November 15, 2013

Hidden Allergy Triggers In Your Home

Tis the season to avoid hidden allergy triggers so you can be freer to enjoy your home and family.

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The Top 10 Allergy Myths

Like getting in the ring and getting knocked around, allergies can take us down hard. It can be a battle to get through them but it’s nice to know what’s true and what’s false about allergies. Let’s tighten our gloves and do some allergy myth busting with the Top 10 Allergy Myths below!


By Bob Jenson
November 12, 2013

Cat Allergies Double Among Asthma Sufferers, Study Reveals

The number of people with asthma who are allergic to cats is on the rise -- it's doubled over 18 years, a new study finds.

"From 1976 to 1994, positive allergy skin tests in people with asthma have increased significantly," study author Dr. Leonard Bielory said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Not only have we found the number of asthma sufferers allergic to cats has more than doubled, but those with asthma are also 32 percent more likely to be allergic to cats than those without asthma," he added.

The researchers also found that people with asthma are more likely to be allergic to several environmental triggers common in the fall, including ragweed, ryegrass and fungus.

The study was scheduled for presentation Friday at the ACAAI's annual meeting, in Baltimore. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

About 60 percent to 85 percent of people with asthma have at least one allergy, but the most common types of allergies in people with asthma have not been well researched, according to the ACAAI.

"This study helps us better understand common trends in allergy and asthma, which can lead to improved diagnosis and treatment," Dr. James Sublett, chair of the ACAAI indoor environment committee, said in the news release. "While it is unknown exactly why there has been an increase in asthma and allergy sufferers, it is thought a number of environmental factors can be responsible."

During the holidays, allergy symptoms can suddenly appear in people with asthma and those who've never had allergies. For example, while visiting friends and relatives with cats, a person may develop a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes.

There is also something called the Thanksgiving Effect, where college students return home and discover that they are now allergic to a pet that never before triggered symptoms.

"Allergies can strike at any age in life, with symptoms disappearing and resurfacing years later," Bielory said. "Allergies and asthma are serious diseases. Misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatment can be dangerous."


Nov. 8, 2013

To prevent allergic reactions, you might try washing bed pillows and microwaving fruit

The fall allergy season is in full swing and will be with us until early frost chills the air. Ragweed allergy, or hay fever, brings symptoms that include sneezing; stuffy or runny nose; itchy eyes, nose and throat; and trouble sleeping. There is a lot of conventional wisdom about allergies and how to handle them, and not all of it is right.

Here are some common misconceptions, along with tips for preventing allergic reactions:

Fruit is not always your friend. Many favorite fruits — apples, bananas, peaches, plums, etc. — can cause symptoms similar to grass or tree pollen reactions. If you are sensitive, cook the fruit in the microwave for 10 seconds to deactivate the proteins, and do not eat the skin.

Cleaner is not always better. “Cleanliness is next to godliness” has a nice ring to it. However, a little exposure to dirt and germs is actually a good thing during childhood, because it strengthens the immune system. When cleaning, always use products labeled nontoxic, and remove excess books, magazines and other clutter from the sleeping area to reduce dust buildup.

Vintage pillow equals heavy allergy symptoms. If your pillow is older than three years and has not been washed during that time, it weighs more now than when you bought it. It’s loaded with dust mites that are next to your face while you sleep. The microscopic mites cause allergies in many people.

Use hypoallergenic pillows over down pillows, and use a zippered pillow protector that you wash weekly for a double barrier. For a down-alternative pillow, use a commercial washer (or a front-loading home machine) and warm water, and dry it on a low setting with two tennis balls to refluff. Dry-clean down pillows.

There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Poodles, labradoodles and Yorkshire terriers are all considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed hair, but there’s no scientific proof that these breeds produce lower amounts of Can f 1, the most common dog allergen. Minimize contact with pets, never allow them on the bed and always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after playing with an animal. Also, wash and groom the pet to remove excess hair. And vacuum regularly.

Always use a nylon shower-curtain liner. Allergy sufferers are told to shower often to remove pollen and pet dander from their bodies. But the phthalate chemicals in vinyl shower curtains emit chemical odors with humidity and heat, and also attract mold and mildew. For those with allergic sensitivities, these smells can cause airways to constrict and even provoke an asthma attack. Replace your vinyl liner with a nylon liner, which can be washed and is less prone to mold buildup.

Mold is not just a bathroom tile issue. Mold is a huge trigger for allergies and asthma, and it’s more prevalent than you might realize. Watch for mold in the dishwasher and refrigerator pan, on your air-conditioning system and on any wood, paper or cotton materials that sit in water for too long.

Freeze stuffed toys. Your child’s favorite stuffed animals can harbor dust mites that may trigger allergies and asthma. To prevent buildup of mites, freeze all stuffed toys for 24 hours in a zip-lock bag at least once a month. Some stuffed animals can be washed in a machine. (Of course, that can leave the toys misshapen, which can be very upsetting to the child.)

Watch the ingredients. We’re told to lather up with lotions and sunscreen, but be careful and watch the ingredients. To reduce the chance of contact dermatitis, insist that such products are parabens-free and hypoallergenic, or made for sensitive skin.

Tear out the carpet. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but carpeting must be vacuumed or cleaned regularly. Shake out and vacuum area rugs regularly, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Keep the outside world from coming in. Always take off your shoes when going indoors and keep all outdoor tools and toys in a garage or shed. If you don’t, you will be dragging dirt and pollen into your living area and provoking allergies and asthma.

By following these simple strategies, it is possible for many people to eliminate the wheezes and sneezes and enjoy a better quality of life.


By Robin Wilson
November 5, 2013

Fall Allergies: Leaves Problematic for Mold Allergy Patients

Fun fall decorations, such as pumpkins, hay bales and cornstalks are a great way to get in the seasonal spirit. And who doesn't love stunning fall foliage?

But if you have mold allergies, these signs of the season can do a number of your health, Michael Beninger, MD, an ear, nose and throat expert at the Cleveland Clinic warned in a news release.

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When Allergies Trigger Asthma: Allergic asthma is the most common form of asthma. Proper diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing attacks.

More than 26 million Americans have asthma, and the number of people with it continues to rise. A chronic and potentially dangerous disease in which the airways of the lungs become inflamed, asthma is closely intertwined with allergies. “Anything that can cause allergies can also cause asthma symptoms,” said David Rosenstreich, MD, director of the Allergy and Immunology Division at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

As many as three out of four adults with asthma have at least one allergy. In fact, the most common form of asthma is allergic asthma, which accounts for 60 percent of all cases. Allergic asthma, also known as extrinsic asthma, is set off by inhaled allergens such as dust mites, mold, pollen, and pet dander. “When some people breathe in allergens, the tubes in their lungs become inflamed,” said Dr. Rosenstreich.

“People think of seasonal allergies as a runny nose, but your airway starts at your nose,” said Boyd Hehn, MD, a pulmonologist at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals in Philadelphia. “So it’s a chain reaction where that runny nose will cause the asthma to act up and the airway to become inflamed.”

Non-allergic, or intrinsic asthma, can be triggered by other factors such as anxiety, stress, exercise, cold air, and viruses. But many of the symptoms are the same for both kinds of asthma, including coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath.

Rachel Lewis has been dealing with allergic asthma since she was a child, and she suffered her first asthma attack at age 7. “The doctors told me I would grow out of my allergies, but they’ve only gotten worse,” said Lewis, 30.

For people like Lewis, it’s critical to manage their exposure to allergens that may trigger attacks.

Doctors who suspect a patient has allergic asthma perform tests to see what they’re specifically allergic to. This can be done with a skin test, where a small amount of allergen is placed on top or slightly below the skin with a needle. Doctors then look for an immediate reaction, usually a rash resembling a mosquito bite. A blood test can also be done to look for allergen-specific antibodies in the bloodstream.

Fall allergy season is here, and people sensitive to common autumn allergens such as ragweed and mold are starting to feel its effects.

“Once the ragweed comes out, a lot of asthma patients are coming into the office,” said Dr. Hehn. “Controlling the allergies can only help in limiting asthma symptoms.”

Lewis lives in Texas, where fall can be a windy season with a lot of allergens blowing around. She’s looking forward to winter, “when I can go outside and actually breathe.”

Experts recommend those sensitive to seasonal allergies limit their time outdoors on days when there are high allergen counts. These daily counts can be found online through the National Allergy Bureau, part of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

There are several simple steps that someone with allergic asthma can take to control their symptoms. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep home and car windows shut during peak allergy times.
  • Use an in-home air filtration system.
  • Protective bedding covers can keep dust mites out of pillows and mattresses.
  • Limit cats and dogs to certain rooms in the home, and keep them out of the bedroom.
  • Bathing pets regularly reduces allergen counts, and frequent vacuuming can help control dander.

Lewis has her own strategies to manage her allergic asthma:

  • She takes hot showers after she’s been outside and exposed to pollen.
  • She only uses fragrance-free laundry detergents.
  • When she cleans, she wears a mask.
  • She keeps a lint roller with her to get pet dander off her clothing.

“It’s a constant effort to keep all my symptoms balanced and controlled,” said Lewis. “Some people think I’m overreacting and making my allergic asthma a bigger deal than it is. But until you go through that experience of not being able to breathe, then you don’t really know what it’s like and how scary it can be.”


By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
October 29, 2013

You versus Fall Allergies: Who Will Win? 7 Tips to Fight Allergies!

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to fall, and the temperature is slowly dropping; autumn has officially arrived! You may also notice that you’re beginning to experience itchy eyes, sniffling, and constant sneezing. Could it be the common cold? Maybe. However, if your symptoms haven’t stopped, you might be dealing with fall allergies.

According to What to Do About Allergies, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, the ragweed plant, the most common agent of fall allergy symptoms, starts to produce pollen from late summer up until the fall. Allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever”, may not be harmful to humans, but it does trigger attacks in the immune system. Even those living far away from areas with ragweed can be affected by it since pollen travels on the wind for hundreds of miles.

What can be done to combat allergic reactions? Studies have suggested the following easy tips for college students to follow:

1. Limit your time outdoors to afternoons. If you want to play football in the Green with your friends, do so in the afternoon because this is when pollen and mold spore counts are lowest.

2. Wash up as soon as you return from being outside. Clean your hands and face, and take a shower to get rid of any pollen you may have collected from the outside air. Your roommate would probably appreciate it too.

3. Turn on your air conditioner. Keep your windows closed and keep the A/C on to clean out the air inside and keep the outdoor allergens outside where they belong. All the dorms should come with air conditioning. Take advantage of what NJIT housing has to offer!

4. Use a neti pot to rinse out your nose. A salt-water solution can be extremely effective in clearing your nostrils of pollen. Neti pots are super affordable for someone on a college budget and can be purchased at any drugstore.

5. Avoid eating certain foods. Here’s a fun fact: bananas, melons, and chamomile have the same proteins as those found in ragweed, which can make your symptoms worse.

6. Keep your dorm clean. As much of a pain as it is, it’s essential to regularly vacuum your floor and use a dust cloth to clear away any airborne particles in your room. Besides, it feels great knowing that your dorm is freshly cleaned!

7. See a doctor if your allergies are interfering with daily activities. Your doctor will be able to figure out what exactly is triggering your reactions and can treat you accordingly.


by Briana Mancenido
October 27, 2013


Think You Have A Cold? Think Again

Itchy throat? Runny nose? You must have caught that bug that is "going around" the office, right? Well, not so fast. While we're quick to jump to the "I've got the latest bug" conclusion, most of us neglect considering another extremely common ailment this time of year: allergies.

There are actually tons of reasons why you might suffer from these late-onset seasonal allergies, even if you've never had a problem with them before. Sometimes stress causes our body to deplete its stores of vitamin C — leaving our immune system vulnerable.

Allergic reactions can also often affect our guts, leading to sluggishness and even depression. Ultimately, consider getting a professional allergy test if you've got a cold that you just can't seem to shake — it could be something else entirely.


By Kelly Bourdet
Oct 24, 2013

5 Surprising Ways Hotels Can Make You Sick

When traveling, your hotel is your home away from home. But you and your family may have unwanted company -- your hotel room could be a haven for germs, parasites, and other threats to healthy travel.

Before you book your next getaway, know what dangers could be lurking in hotel rooms and how to avoid travel sickness.

Poor Air Quality

Sub-par air quality in your hotel room can quickly put a damper on your trip and increase the chances that you’ll get sick.

“Stale air is unhealthy. It invites irritants into the body,” says Gaylen Kelton, MD, professor of clinical family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Travel Medicine in Indianapolis. “It can aggravate allergies and just be a nuisance.”

Cigarette smoke is a common irritant. Most hotels in North America offer the option of non-smoking rooms, but they may be harder to find internationally.

“In China, even though there are no-smoking signs on the walls in the hotel rooms, they still reek of smoke,” says Dr. Kelton.

If you do smell smoke or stale air, Kelton says it’s best to resist the urge to turn on the fan or air conditioner. If the air filters aren’t changed regularly, you could make matters worse and blow more irritants into your hotel room. Instead, open a window to get some fresh air into the room.

Germs in Unexpected Places

Most people expect to find germs on places like door handles and toilets in a public place like a hotel. But research shows the highest concentrations of germs in hotel rooms are often in places many people don’t hesitate to touch as soon as they set their bags down.

A small study of nine hotel rooms presented at the American Society for Microbiology in 2012 showed remote controls, telephones, carpets, and bedside lamp switches contained high levels of fecal and aerobic bacteria. Those types of bacteria could lead to gastrointestinal illnesses, among others.

Researchers found that cleaning items on maids’ carts, like mops and sponges, also had high levels of both types of bacteria. That raises the risk of spreading potentially disease-causing germs from room to room while cleaning.

To prevent hotel room germs from spoiling your trip, bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down high contact surfaces when you arrive. Also remember to wash hands frequently.

Slipping Risks

Germs may actually be the least of your worries in a hotel room bathroom, says Kelton. Bigger threats to healthy travel are slips and falls on unfamiliar territory. “More accidents happen in showers from falls than anything else when traveling,” says Kelton.

In hotel room bathrooms, you may encounter a different setup than you're used to at home, and that can trigger falls, says Kelton. For example, you might have a walk-in shower at home, but at the hotel, you have to step into a tub shower. Or the floor may not have a mat or carpet and could become slippery when wet.

Another often-overlooked danger in the bathroom is scalds and burns. “Hotels have the hot water set at a higher temperature than at home, so you need to gauge the temperature appropriately,” says Kelton. “Kids may turn on the hot water all the way at home and be okay, but the hotel’s water is hotter.”

A final water warning for international travelers: Kelton says that if you aren’t going to drink tap water anywhere else on your trip, don’t do it at the hotel either. That means using bottled water to drink in your room as well as to brush your teeth.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Dust mites, down comforters, and other potential allergens might trigger the sniffles in particularly sensitive travelers -- allergy and asthma sufferers, we mean you.

If you have allergies or sensitive skin, Kelton says it’s worth calling ahead to ask if the hotel offers allergy-friendly rooms or if they can tell you what cleaning products they use -- harsh cleaning solutions or laundry detergents can also be irritating if you have sensitive skin. Some hotel chains will also allow you to pre-order foam rather than feather pillows.

Kelton also advises against trying the tempting free toiletries at hotels if you have sensitive skin. “Using a new soap or shampoo may cause some people to have a reaction,” he says.

Bed Bugs

What's most surprising about bed bug infestations is that they're still a problem. Since the late 1990s, they've had a worldwide resurgence. Bed bug infestations have now been reported in all 50 U.S. states, often in hotels.

The blood-sucking insects feed on people. Bed bug bites can start out as small pricks in the skin, but can grow and become inflamed and cause itching.

More than 40 disease-causing pathogens have been detected in bed bugs, but the good news so far is that there's no definitive evidence that they transmit any disease to humans.

To reduce your risk of becoming a bed bug’s dinner or means of transport to its next meal, follow these steps:

  • Check the mattress, box spring, and behind the headboard for signs of bed bugs. Signs may include brown spots (which could be the bugs’ feces) and bed bug skins, as well as any live bed bugs. The bugs tend to harbor in mattress piping.
  • Do not put your luggage or other personal items on beds or other soft, upholstered furnishings that may harbor bed bugs. Put clothing and luggage on dressers or luggage racks.
  • Keep your suitcases, briefcases, and computers and their cases closed when not in use.

Taking these precautions involves some legwork (and detective work), but it all translates to a better travel experience.


By Jennifer Warner
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
October 24, 2013

Healthy Holiday Tips

You might think that by the time the holidays arrive, allergy season is long gone. However, for millions of allergy sufferers, the reality is that allergens still abound. From pet dander to volatile organic compounds, indoor allergens can cause discomfort and health issues as bothersome as when pollen is in season.

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Experts: High pollen count increases medical dangers

Borger resident Edwin Scott said his allergies have been so bad this season he’s been chasing his Zyrtec with Allegra. “Usually, I use Benadryl or something (to supplement Zyrtec), not one of the name-brand medicines,” Scott said.
Allergens may be something to sneeze at, but area residents should not underestimate them as higher moisture levels and higher temperatures have caused higher pollen levels, local allergy experts said.

“People should not take allergies as something mild,” Dr. Constantine K. Saadeh said. “(Allergies) can have serious ramifications.”

Serious allergy suffers face sinus infections that can lead to meningitis, he said.

People who suffer from asthma caused by allergies can suffer irreparable lung damage if their asthma goes untreated, Saadeh said.

West Texas A&M University Purchasing Director Bryan Glenn said he couldn’t make it to work Friday because of his seasonal allergy symptoms. He said he’s been taking allergy shots to no avail.

“My face is swollen and eyes are runny … ready for the first freeze,” Glenn said.

WT biology professor Arun Ghosh cited research by Rutgers University environmentalist Leonard Bielory to explain heightened pollen levels worldwide. Global climate change is prompting many plant species into a sort of species-
survival mode in which they release more pollen, Ghosh said.

“(Plants) cannot move themselves, so it’s kind of a gene-controlled phenomenon,” Ghosh said. “They are producing more reproductive units.”

Ghosh said West Texas residents face the worst allergy conditions in the state. He said he assumed allergens wouldn’t be prevalent in the area when he first moved to the Texas Panhandle due to the region’s limited plant life.

“Just the opposite thing is true,” Ghosh said. “Pollen grains, they can fly 300 to 400 miles. We receive pollen grains from Oklahoma, we receive pollen grains from Colorado, New Mexico — all of our neighboring states.”

This summer, a team of of WT researchers measured heightened levels of ragweed in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Ghosh said. Nine years ago, researchers found scattered patches of ragweed in the canyon, but due to recent rains, a “continuous trail” of ragweed littered the landscape this summer, Ghosh said.

“Ragweed is the most important culprit that is causing allergies to 90 percent of people who are suffering from allergies in the world,” he said.

Another area culprit is the fungus alternaria, which forms on wheat plants and agitates residents with mold allergies, Ghosh said.

Saadeh said allergy sufferers can can take preventative measures to head off their symptoms, such as avoiding going outside between 4 and 8 p.m., as well as avoiding the outdoors when wind speeds range from 20 to 30 mph.

Over-the-counter antihistamine medicine can help mild allergy sufferers, but people experiencing more serious symptoms should talk to a doctor, he said. It’s also a good idea to wash clothes in hot water to deal with pollens that stick to clothing, Saadeh said.

Ghosh said allergy sufferers also should consider wearing a face mask when working outdoors. Parents can help their children tolerate allergies by letting them play outside at an early age, he said, and residents suffering from allergies should consider having their homes inspected for mold growing inside walls or air ducts.

To many, allergies are a minor annoyance, but they can be dangerous for others, Ghosh said. After all, pollens might be responsible for killing off the dinosaurs.

“You laugh at that, but it’s a very plausible theory, and many archaeologists and scientists … believe that the dinosaurs became extinct because of allergies,” Ghosh said.


By Russell Anglin
October 12, 2013

10 common houseplants that help 'clean' your home

Believe it or not, there are 10 common houseplants that can actually help "clean" your home!

Studies show many common, indoor plants serve as natural “air cleaners,” using their leaves, roots and bacteria from their soil to rid the indoor environment of toxins present in the air, including benzene (found in tobacco smoke) and formaldehyde (a common indoor chemical that may irritate your eyes, nose and throat), among others.

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Pet travel policies for top U.S. airlines

Frequent business traveler Tamara Hall is allergic to cats and can't understand why pets are allowed in the passenger cabins of airplanes.

She remembers two cats under seats and how they affected her and two other airline passengers with allergies on a 16-seat flight from Bozeman, Mont., to Salt Lake City several years ago.

"With the dander blowing throughout, we were all sneezing and itching by landing," Hall recalls. "My eyes were almost swollen shut."

Airlines stopped serving peanuts "because one person might be allergic, but cats?" she asks. "They smile and say, 'Deal with it.' There must be a solution."

USA TODAY asked big U.S. airlines for their policies, and all allow pets to be brought into the cabin by passengers for a fee. Some allow only cats and dogs; others also allow birds and rabbits.

Pets must be inside carriers, and the carriers must be put under the seat in front of the passenger bringing the pet aboard.

The fee ranges from $75 on a Southwest Airlines or AirTran Airways flight to $200 on a Delta Air Lines foreign flight.

Unlike airlines, Amtrak prohibits pets on trains, according to spokeswoman Kimberly Woods.

In May, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., introduced a bill that would require Amtrak to designate at least one car where pets would be allowed. The bill says Amtrak would collect an unspecified fee for each pet.

Proposed legislation allowing pets on the rails may be great news for millions of pet lovers but unwelcome news for allergy sufferers.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15% to 30% of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.

When cat or dog allergens are inhaled by highly sensitive people, severe breathing problems — coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath — can occur in 15 to 30 minutes, the foundation says. An "intense" rash on the face, neck or upper chest is also possible.

For up to 30% of people with asthma, "cat contact can trigger a severe asthma attack," the foundation says.

Mike Tringale, a spokesman for the foundation, says airlines should limit the number of pets allowed on a flight and establish policies to enable passengers with allergies to switch seats.

Southwest Airlines, which sells a pet carrier for $48 at airport ticket counters, says it allows a maximum of six pets per flight, but it may make exceptions.

A passenger "severely affected" by an animal allergy should notify a Southwest Airlines airport employee, and "we will work to ensure that the customer is seated on the opposite end of the aircraft, as far away from the animal as possible," says Michelle Agnew, the airline's spokeswoman.

Alaska Airlines allows one pet in the first-class cabin and five in the main cabin, according to spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey. Alaska has received "very few" complaints from passengers objecting to animals on aircraft, she says.

"Allowing pets in the cabin is a service offered by all major airlines, and we continue to offer it to serve our customers, many of whom enjoy and appreciate traveling with their pets."

JetBlue spokeswoman says Tamara Young says the airline is carrying an increasing number of pets but limits them to four per flight.

"If a customer has a pet allergy, we ask that they inform an in-flight crew member upon boarding the aircraft," Young says. "Upon request, an in-flight crew member will try to create a buffer zone and place the customer as far away as possible from any animal on board."

JetBlue "will offer a full refund to customers for whom these conditions make it impossible to travel," she says.

United Airlines has a three-pet limit per flight, says spokesman Christen David.

"All pets must remain in their kennel throughout the duration of the flight, which mitigates most concerns customers would have about allergies," David says.

If a passenger seated near a pet "is not comfortable," United will relocate or rebook the passenger on another flight, he says.

Airlines prohibit or have restrictions on pets in the cabin on international flights.

US Airways, for example, allows dogs, cats and birds on domestic flights, but they are prohibited on flights to and from Europe, South America, the Middle East and various Caribbean destinations.

Spirit Airlines allows dogs, cats and birds on domestic flights but prohibits birds on flights to and from Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, says spokeswoman Misty Pinson. The airline doesn't allow pets — except "service or comfort animals" — on foreign flights.

Hawaiian Airlines doesn't allow pets on flights from outside the state that land in Hawaii because of animal quarantine laws, spokeswoman Ann Botticelli says.

The airline, though, allows a cat or a dog in the passenger cabin for $35 on a flight between the Hawaiian Islands or $175 for a North American flight that doesn't land in Hawaii.

Frequent business traveler Bob Catlette of Collierville, Tenn., isn't allergic to animals and supports airline policies that allow them in passenger cabins.

Catlette, an author and an executive coach, says he has flown on several flights next to passengers with service dogs or pets.

"Contrary to dogs that I've heard barking incessantly in the aircraft belly, none of these on-board pets made a peep or other disturbance," he says.

Another frequent business traveler, Barbara Korte of Plymouth, Mich., believes airlines should be more protective of people with allergies and not allow pets in the passenger cabin.

She also recalls an unpleasant experience involving two puppies on a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam two years ago.

"Everyone thought the puppies were very cute, including the lady who took them out of the carrier and had them on her lap, until they pooped during the flight," she says. "Then, when everyone was trying to sleep, the puppies were whining. It was not a good experience."


By Gary Stoller
October 9, 2013

Curb Allergies, Lose Weight

Chicago, IL, Oct. 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Allergies make us miserable, but do they also make us fat? The physical fallout of allergic rhinitis and chronic allergy symptoms is far greater than stuffy noses, sneezing, and sleepless nights. Allergies and adult sleep apnea strain our physical wellbeing, both body and mind. And since poor sleep habits and poor eating habits often go hand in hand, those sleep-stealing allergies could cause you to pack on the pounds.

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Cure Stress With Allergy Immunotherapy

Chicago, IL, Sept. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- My allergies are making me crazy! According to researchers, that may actually be true. Dr. Brian Rotskoff of Clarity Allergy Center in Chicago continues to explore how allergic rhinitis (hay fever) impacts patients' quality of life. For many adults, allergies, anxiety, and stress are intricately woven and can significantly impair productivity, wellness, and overall happiness.

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Infographic: Be Informed When Fall Allergies Strike

When most people think of allergies, colorful flowers come to mind. However, the pollen of colorful flowers are typically too heavy to be carried by the air and thus are not allergy triggers. The bright colors of these flowers are there to attract insects, who act to spread the pollen.

The infographic below has everything you need to know about fall allergies and how the weather spreads pollens.


September 26, 2013

Ragweed Pollen and Mold will be the Key Allergens this Fall: AAFA

Ragweed pollen will be the key allergy causing source this season’s fall in the U.S. which would make more the season tougher for people with fall allergies.

The Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a not-for-profit organization, warns that this season's fall will be comparatively more difficult for people with allergies; ragweed pollen and mold will be the key allergy causing sources.

The global weather is likely to increase ragweed growth. Tornadoes and fall storms will disperse outdoor mold and allergens in the atmosphere, according to a report by AAFA.

The AAFA also created a list of challenging U.S. cities to live in for people with fall allergies. The list has been created on the basis of the usage of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medication, pollen levels and the number of Board Certified allergists present in each city.

The growing carbon dioxide levels and temperatures could boost the ragweed season by about a month or more, according to recent studies. The warmer weather now lasts for longer periods in the northern states of U.S. due to climatic changes.

Pollen from weeds is more problematic during fall compared to spring.

Though the season now commences later than its normal time, there is a fear of increased pollen distribution, which can trigger the allergy symptoms. These estimations are made on the basis of the forecast about the above-average tornadoes expected in the Midwest and the hurricane season predicted in the East.

Outdoor mold grow and spread more because of the wind patterns and the fall weather.

The allergic reactions to pollen and outdoor mold are often mistaken to be flu or cold, particularly during this season, which sometimes leads to delayed treatment.

Approximately 40 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies are advised by the AAFA to learn more and seek advice from specialists for proper diagnosis and treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms.


By Nupur Jha
September 19, 2013

Ten worst cities for people with fall allergies

If you hear a lot of sneezing this fall, it may be coming from Wichita.

Wichita ranked No. 1 in the 2013 Fall Allergy Capitals report, out Tuesday from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The report compares the most challenging U.S. cities to live in for people with fall allergies.

The primary allergy trigger this fall will be ragweed pollen, says the not-for-profit organization, based in Landover, Md. It says outdoor mold also will be a problem because it continues to grow and is likely to be spread by fall weather and wind patterns.

The foundation looked at the 100 most populated, consolidated metropolitan statistical areas in the continental USA. The ranking is based on pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient, and number of board-certified allergists per patient. The report was sponsored by Dymista, a prescription nasal spray for relief of allergy symptoms.

An interactive map of the 100 cities is available at, along with resources for patients and doctors.

After Wichita, the highest-ranked cities are Jackson, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn.

The top cities are "places where ragweed thrives," says Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at AAFA. "In addition, there is some crossover — some grasses are still pollinating."

A couple of major metropolitan areas jumped in the ranking. Dallas climbed from No. 26 last fall to No. 18 this fall, and Detroit moved up nine spots, to No. 19.

"Ragweed grows in urban areas, such as in cracks in sidewalks, along sides of roads and on roofs of buildings," Tringale says.

"AAFA encourages the approximately 40 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies to learn more and consult an allergy specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms," he says.

The ranking is not meant to get people packing their bags, he says. "Don't move; improve. Improve your understanding of your diagnosis and your treatment. Improve your knowledge about how to avoid allergy triggers and reduce allergens in your home."

"Allergies are bad everywhere," says Michael Kaliner, medical director of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, which has offices in Chevy Chase and Wheaton, Md. "If allergies are left untreated or treated with the wrong medication, it can cause some serious complications."

Top 10 worst cities for fall allergies

1. Wichita
2. Jackson, Miss.
3. Knoxville, Tenn.
4. Louisville
5. Memphis
6. McAllen, Texas
7. Baton Rouge
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Chattanooga, Tenn.
10. Oklahoma City


By Cathy Payne
September 17, 2013

ADHD more likely in children with asthma or allergies

Children with a history of asthma and various allergies may be at higher risk of developing ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), according to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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What's Your Allergy IQ?

If you have questions about hay fever, you're not alone. Seasonal allergies are one of the most common allergic conditions in the U.S., affecting nearly 36 million people each year.

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Sneeze alert: Ragweed leads pollen attack on DFW

Allergy sufferers may be the one group that typically pulls for the hot weather to continue.

But this year, even as North Texas continues to see 100-degree temperatures, the sneezing has already begun.

Ragweed levels started rising in late August and haven’t stopped. And on Monday the high levels of ragweed were compounded by elm and grass pollen in the air.

“With different people allergic to different things, more people are going to suffer,” said Fort Worth allergist James Haden.

While ragweed starts firing up this time of year, it’s unusual to see grass pollen.

“We normally see grass cook over the last two months of summer but this year we’ve seen just enough intermittent rain to keep it going,” Haden said.

For those that suffer from fall allergies, Haden said, the advice is always the same — start using preventive medications before the onset of symptoms and limit exposure to pollen by staying indoors. He also advises changing clothes and even showering if you’ve been outside.

“Once that pollen is inside the house it doesn’t matter what the conditions are outside, it’s going to stick around,” Haden said.

The good news is that ragweed levels may drop slightly if it stays hot — and there’s a chance of 100-degree temperatures through Sunday. Even if that happens, ragweed will come surging back once that first fall cold front arrives. And ragweed season will stick around until the first freeze.

Some forecast models are suggesting a cold front could arrive in nine or 10 days but “it’s almost just wishing at this point,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Shoemaker.

Triple-digit temperatures become increasingly rare after mid-September in North Texas, though they have been recorded as late as Oct. 3 when it reached 106 in 1951.

Long-range forecast models are calling for above-normal temperatures with a slight chance of above-normal rainfall over the next three months.

If that’s correct, it could make for a lengthy fall allergy season.

Allergy sufferers may want to look even further down the road with the hopes that North Texas will actually see some winter weather this year. Last year’s mild winter led to some types of pollen sticking around longer than usual.

“We never had a winter last year,” Haden said. “Even in January, we had mountain cedar ( a winter pollen) and grass at the same time. You don’t expect to see grass pollen in the middle of winter. That made it really difficult for a lot of people.”


By Bill Hanna
September 5, 2013

Allergy symptoms arrive in Charlotte early this year

"I have been sneezing a lot more lately when I am out running or exercising," said Regina Harrison.

As fall approaches, a lot of people suffer from allergies because of the change in weather, but people are noticing the symptoms: itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing much earlier this year.

Dr. Gray Norris said there has been a recent spike because of all of the rain we have had this summer.

"I think the weeds are a little bit early. I think they have gotten a little bit of a head start with all of the water we have had for them to grow," said Norris.

So far this year, Charlotte has seen more than 35 inches of rain. Normally by this time Charlotte has an average of 28 inches.

All of that wet weather has caused an early rise in ragweed and mold.

Norris said do not expect conditions to change any time soon.

"We are going to have fairly high levels until we get some really cold weather. Once we get a really good freeze that will knock the levels down," said Norris.

Charlotte has already seen a burst of cooler temperatures, but meteorologists don't expect the cold weather to arrive until late October.


By Vicki Graf
September 2, 2013

Fall allergy season arrives, approaching early September peak

Ragweed season is upon us, pollen counts show, and is expected to peak over the next couple of weeks.

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Monsoon partially to blame for late-summer allergy season

When we think of allergies, we think of flowers blooming and the wind churning in the spring. But many of us, myself included, are wondering: Why have our eyes been watering in late summer?

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Coming soon: Cruise cabins for allergy sufferers

Crystal Cruises has announced plans for what it's billing as the first hypoallergenic rooms at sea.

The two-ship luxury line says it will convert 70 cabins on the 1,070-passenger Crystal Serenity into super-purified, anti-allergy rooms during a dry dock in November.

The "Deluxe PURE Staterooms," as Crystal is calling them, are being designed in partnership with PURE Marine Solutions, a sister company to hypoallergenic hotel room-designer PURE Global.

Crystal says each of the 70 cabins will undergo a seven-step, PURE-designed process to remove allergens and reduce the risk of common irritants during the November dry dock.

Work on the rooms will include the installation of medical-grade air purifiers that will filter out 99.9% of all impurities and dust. The rooms also will be outfitted with microfiber, monofilament mattresses and pillow cases, and housecleaning staff will be trained in anti-allergy cleaning techniques.

The cabins will debut Nov. 27.


By Gene Sloan
August 14, 2013

Mold Allergy

Mold is an organism that is present is most places, outdoors and indoors. It is a type of fungus that works to break down dead material and return nutrients to the environment. Mold grows by digesting plant or animal matter, such as leaves, wood, paper, dirt, and food and spreads by releasing tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. Mold grows quickly in moist dark spaces, such as basements, garbage cans, and piles of rotting leaves.

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Fall Allergies Starting in Summer

Allergy sufferers can usually make it through July without many problems, but the lack of rain is changing their situation.

Allergists are already starting treating plenty of patients for their fall allergies.

"People are coming in with the runny noses, itchy eyes, and things of that nature," said John Forbes, Medicap Pharmacist.

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8 steps to an allergy-proof home

With hay fever season just around the corner, many allergy sufferers are going to be looking for relief. If you’d like to avoid the itchy eyes and runny noses, here are eight tips to keep allergens out of your house this fall.

Pull Up the Carpets

Allergens like pollen are heavier than air, so they sink pretty quickly once they get into your home. Carpets can become a trap for these allergens, which get released back into the air when you walk by or vacuum. To cut back on itchy eyes and runny noses, it’s a good idea to replace carpets with hardwood floors or linoleum, which will allow you to scrub the spores away much more easily.

Clean Those Drapes

Like carpets, drapes are also a magnet for allergens. If your drapes are machine-washable, make sure to give them a rinse on a regular basis. Or better yet, ditch them altogether and replace them with blinds or shades.

Keep Mold in Check

Mold growth in the home isn’t only disgusting, it’s also a common allergen that can leave you sneezing and wheezing. Mold loves dark, damp climates and you might be aiding this allergen if you’ve allowed wetness to build up in the home. Some common mold breeding grounds include basements, bathrooms, and the areas beneath sinks, where leaks can allow mold to grow. If you live in a hot, humid climate, you could also consider running a dehumidifier during the summer months, setting it to keep the humidity under 60 percent.

Beware Recycled Air

While you might thinking turning on the range hood or bathroom fan will help clear the air, many of these common indoor fans are set up to simply recycle the indoor air and have little effect. Check if you ventilation systems are actually exhausting air outside your home. If not, you might consider hiring a contractor to hook your range hood and bathroom fan up to your home’s ventilation system.

Get Rid of Rotten Air Purifiers

Many allergy suffers turn to air purifiers to help keep allergens in check. The problem is that not all purifiers are created equally. Many use coarse, inefficient filters that cause bad air to circulate around the home. So before you invest in one, make sure it uses HEPA filters, which are capable of capturing 99.97 percent of particles in the air.

Additionally, many air purifiers are air ionizers, which means they create ozone — a substance that can trigger allergy symptoms in many people. If you have one of these air purifiers, toss it and buy a new one.

Clean Your Ventilation System

Many fall allergies are made worse when people turn the heat on for the first time in months. Clogged air filters and dust in the system is sent coursing through your home, aggravating your already awful hay fever. To prevent this, make sure that you regularly clean or replace the air filters in their ventilation system, a job that should be done every three months or so.

Clean Your Bedroom

A mattress teaming with dust mites can leave you sniffling and sneezing through the night. You probably spend more time in the bedroom than in any other room in the house, so making sure it is clean and free of allergens is essential. Start by steam cleaning your mattress to rid it of nasty mites. Then cover it with a mattress cover designed to separate you from allergens like mites.

Clear Up Clutter

It’s difficult to dust around a cluttered home, and the more nooks, crannies and crevices you have around the home, the more spaces you’ve provided for allergens to gather. Clear your home of clutter and dust regularly. Pay extra attention to areas under beds and couches, which often go overlooked.


By Adam Verwymeren
August 22, 2013

Heavy Traffic Pollution, Wood Fire Smoke May Worsen Asthma Symptoms

A word of caution to asthma-sufferers: Living by busy streets could make your symptoms worse, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne found that heavy traffic pollution seemed to increase asthma symptoms by 80 percent and smoke from wood fires seemed to increase symptoms by 11 percent among people with the condition.

"These findings may have particular importance in developing countries where wood smoke exposure is likely to be high in rural communities due to the use of wood for heating and cooking, and the intensity of air pollution from vehicular traffic in larger cities is significant," study researcher Dr. John Burgess, of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement.

Interestingly, researchers did not find an association between asthma onset and exposure to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fires.

The study, published in the journal Respirology, included 1,383 adults, age 44, who were part of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study. The study participants rated their exposure to wood fire smoke and traffic pollution. They were also asked to provide information on frequency of exposure to heavy traffic near their homes, as well as their exposure to wood smoke in the environment during the wintertime. Researchers tracked the participants' asthma symptoms and flare-ups over a year-long period.

Everyday Health previously reported that for traffic pollution in particular, particulate matter and atmospheric ozone are likely the biggest asthma culprits.

"Both pollutants can strain airways in asthma by increasing inflammation and susceptibilities to allergies and infections," Sumita B. Khatri, M.D., who is the co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Respiratory's Institute's Asthma Center, told Everyday Health.


August 21, 2012

Rain not helping allergy sufferers

You may already be feeling the effects of the wet weather on your allergies but experts say allergy season is weeks away.

The rain has been great for our plants and lakes.

However, it is also to blame for an increase in allergic reactions from the fast-growing weeds and plants.

Doctors are warning it is about to get worse.

They said the ragweed population is about to explode, causing many problems for allergy suffers.

Health officials recommend getting an allergy test.

That will determine what plants and weeds trigger your allergic reactions.


By A. EdwardsAugust 20, 2013

Obese Kids More Likely to Have Asthma, With Worse Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese kids are more likely to struggle with asthma than kids of normal weight, according to a new review of more than 623,000 children.

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Watch Out for Backyard Allergy Triggers

Allergy and asthma triggers can turn your backyard from a summer oasis into a place of misery if you don't take precautions, experts say.

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Will honey relieve my seasonal allergies?

Q. Several people have recommended I eat local honey as a remedy for my seasonal allergies. Does it really help?

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5 tips for docs working with vacationers

To doctors, summer vacationers can be more painful to deal with than a sunburn on the 4th of July. Being located in the popular tourist destination of Charleston, S.C., Frederick Schaffer, MD, clinical associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, and his students, know firsthand that it is never easy working with patients vacationing from out of town. Schaffer, also chief medical officer of United Allergy Services, shared with Healthcare Finance News five tips for doctors dealing with summer vacationers.

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General aviation pilots advised to watch use of common medications

The half a million general aviation pilots in the United States should watch their use of everyday drugs, regulators and industry officials urged Wednesday.

In issuing the advisory, officials warned over-the-counter medications accounted for 12 percent of general aviation crashes in the past decade, ABC News reported.

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Helpful Tips To Battle Mold From The Recent Storms

As flood waters from recent inclement weather recede, the potential for mold growth in homes and businesses may become prevalent.  Damp conditions from flooding create the perfect breeding grounds for mold to grow, which can happen as soon as two days after flooding.  It's important to dry out your home or business as quickly as possible to avoid costly repairs and health issues in the future.

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At Home: How to get a really clean, allergy-free home

Warning: The contents of this column may cause runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Just thinking about the dust mites, mold and toxins likely lurking in your home is enough to cause gasping and wheezing.

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When Allergies Attack! Asthma and Allergies in America (Infographic)

Seeing how combating unhealthy air quality and allergies are the main factors Oransi builds our high quality HEPA air purifiers, we have compiled the most recent statistics on allergies and asthma in the U.S. to show you how important fresh, clean air is to millions of Americans. Some of the facts in this infographic may surprise you. For instance, most Americans believe the air in their home is clean. In reality, indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, which is why having air purifiers for allergies can be a huge benefit to your health. Click the infographic to learn more about common triggers, risk factors, and the costs of asthma, allergies and poor indoor air quality in the United States.

Feature Our Asthma & Allergy Infographic on Your Site
You are free to display this infographic on your own website or blog. All you have to do is copy and paste our embed code below to attribute the graphic back to Oransi with a link. It’s really that simple!

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6 Unexpected Allergens that can Cause Backyard Blues

Outdoor summer gatherings can bring a lot of unwanted guests - from mosquitos and rain, to your nosey neighbor. The last thing you should have to worry about is the everyday items in your backyard that might cause summertime blues.  More than 50 million Americans have allergies and asthma, which can be triggered by things you might least expect.

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Traveling and Allergies: Unfortunately, the two can go hand in hand

Who doesn't like to travel? Most people do, right?

Of course there are some who would rather skip the airport lines, highway traffic and high gas prices, but for the most part people like to see new places, people and things as much as they can, especially during the summer months.

But a lot of people are concerned about their allergies flaring up when they travel. So much so that some folks won't even go to certain places because those places are known to make eyes water, noses sneeze and worse.

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What Is Hay Fever?

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common problem that causes cold-like symptoms.

Sufferers experience a runny nose, sneezing and sinus pressure, and at certain times of the year, the symptoms can become unbearably uncomfortable. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, between 10 percent and 30 percent of Americans suffer from hay fever, with up to 40 percent of children affected. Understand what causes this common condition and learn about the different treatment options available to sufferers.

Causes. Hay fever is caused by a process called sensitization. According to the Mayo Clinic, this occurs when the immune system mistakes a harmless airborne substance as something much more harmful and then starts to produce antibodies to counter it. Every time you come in contact with the substance thereafter, the antibodies recognize it and trigger the immune system to release chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals cause the reaction, which leads to the symptoms of hay fever.

Common triggers. Hay fever is triggered by a number of different substances. Some of these substances only occur seasonally, whereas others are present all year round. Different types of pollen often trigger hay fever, particularly tree pollen in the spring and grass pollen in the summer. Dust mites can trigger hay fever all year round, as can dried skin flakes from household pets such as cats and dogs.

Medications. Hay fever sufferers should try to avoid the substances that they recognize are causing the problem. In many cases, however, this is not possible and alternative treatment options need to be identified. A number of different medications are available to hay fever sufferers, some of which may only be available by prescription. Prescription nasal sprays contain corticosteroids, which prevent and treat nasal inflammation and runny nose. Antihistamines block the production of histamine, preventing a subsequent allergic reaction.

Other treatments. Immunotherapy, or desensitization therapy, involves having regular injections, which include tiny amounts of the allergen. Over time, the body gets used to the allergens, and the need for medication is reduced. This treatment is particularly useful for sufferers who are sensitive to common pollutants such as dust mites. According to the Mayo Clinic, immunotherapy can help prevent the development of asthma in children.


by Randall Stokes
July 2, 2013

Drowsy Drivers May Put Your Family At Risk This Summer

If your summer plans include driving you could come across a new danger on the roads this year. Certain allergy medications might be affecting users behind the wheel.

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Seasonal Allergies Something to Sneeze At in NoVA

If you’re battling a runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing and wheezing, and your car has a new greenish-yellow pollen paint job, you could be dealing with seasonal allergies.

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How to Deal With Allergies on a Run

You can be excused if your excitement to finally run in good weather has been dampened by a stretch of runny noses, itchy eyes, and nonstop sneezing. Allergy discomfort can be enough to prevent anyone from wanting to skip their daily workout, so keep sneezing and sniffling at a minimum with these tips for dealing with allergies while on your outdoor runs.

Check the counts: Some days are just made for the treadmill, especially if high pollen counts would mean you'd be suffering through your entire outdoor run. Make a habit of checking pollen and mold counts every day, and ditch your outdoor exercise when counts are the highest. Try for forecasts in your area. If you're not quite sure what triggers your allergies, then go to the doctor for an allergy skin test that will help you figure out what to watch out for.

Pick your time: Pollen counts are usually the highest in the mornings, so if you are feeling sneezy and stuffed up after every morning run, then try to move your running time to later in the day. Going in the evening may be your best option.

Change out of your clothes: Exercise clothes can carry allergens, so make sure you change — and shower — as soon as you get home to limit your exposure.

Prevent discomfort: If you know you're going to be running in high-allergen situations, then take a few preventative steps to make your workout a success. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, and take your allergy medication — as long as it's non-drowsy and non-drying. Medication and inhalers that open up your air passageways can actually make your symptoms worse, so plan to take these at least an hour before your run.


ByLeta Shy
May 15, 2013

Healthy Memphis: Know difference between seasonal allergies and cold symptoms

What you should know

Spring and summer open up the enjoyment of outdoor activities and scenery. Yet a runny nose, stuffiness, and itchy eyes can ruin the experience. Relief methods depend on whether you have an allergy or a cold.

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Managing Seasonal Allergies

Although spring arrived late this year in parts of the United States, the summer allergy season will still be strong, according to a sinus expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Richard Waguespack, clinical professor in the university's division of otolaryngology, said a wet spring often results in a robust summer allergy season. However, some simple strategies can help people manage symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing and coughing, he added.

"Tree pollen has been bad for several weeks now, but grass pollen season is not far off," said Waguespack in a university news release. "For allergic people in the South, a big problem is that there's no break between tree and grass pollen season. Then, right after grass pollen season comes weed pollen season, which doesn't generally end until the first good frost."

The best defense against allergies is to avoid triggers by staying indoors, Waguespack said. "When it is reasonable and consistent with your lifestyle, if you have outdoor allergies, you should stay indoors when everything is in bloom," he said. Waguespack added that checking the pollen counts online before going outside can help allergy sufferers plan their activities.

Waguespack offered these other tips to manage seasonal allergies:

- Close your windows at night.

- Take non-sedating, over-the-counter antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra).

- Schedule a checkup with your doctor.

"Visiting your family doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist when allergies are not readily treated with [over-the-counter] medications is vital for reduction of symptoms," Waguespack said.

Some allergy symptoms may be a warning sign of a more serious medical problem, Waguespack said. "Sometimes a patient can confuse allergies with a sinus infection or upper respiratory infection," he said.

People who experience recurrent or persistent allergies should consult their doctor about allergy testing to determine the exact causes of their symptoms, he added.


By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
May 19, 2013