From 'Potent' Pollen to Double Whammy Allergy Seasons: How Climate Change Could Affect Seasonal Allergies

Climate changes and rising carbon dioxide levels don't just affect the environment. Experts say they also affect your nose. Warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels mean certain plants will thrive, and those are the plants that tend to make us sneeze during allergy season.

Read more

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month: Finding the Right Care

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This month also marks peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, so there’s no better time for a campaign meant to educate the public on these two related conditions. And with more than 23 million Americans suffering from allergies and 22 million with asthma, most of us at least know someone who’s impacted.

Here’s what you should know about and asthma and allergies:


  • Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes the airways to become inflamed and narrowed, making breathing difficult to impossible.
  • In those with asthma, attacks, or periods of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath, may be caused by a number of triggers, including allergens, airborne irritants, exposure to certain chemicals, exercise, sleeping in a prone position, and other irritants.
  • There’s no cure for asthma, but there are treatments for managing and controlling asthma symptoms.


  • Allergies are when a usually non-harmful substance (allergen) in your home or environment causes a response by your body’s immune system.
  • Common allergens include medications, dust, food, insect venom, mold, animal dander, and pollen.
  • Allergy symptoms depend on whether the allergen is inhaled or ingested, a drug, or something that touches the skin or the eyes.
  • Allergens you breathe in can cause a stuffy, itchy nose, itchy throat, or asthmatic symptoms, like mucus production, cough, or wheezing.
  • Food allergies can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or anaphylaxis – a life-threatening condition.
  • Allergic reactions to medications affect the whole body and can produce any of the symptoms that are caused by other allergens.
  • Those that affect your skin can cause various rashes and hives.
  • Allergens that touch your eyes can make them red, itchy, puffy, or watery.
  • Like asthma, there is no cure for allergies. But there are many available treatments for allergy symptoms.

Sources:,, and

By Brigid Mara-Sedlak
May 14, 2013

Allergy control helps prevent asthma, allergic conditions

Ah-ah-ah-choo! This is the time of year when many folks are sneezing. If it isn't a cold, it might be allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.

Nasal allergies tend to flare every spring from plant pollens in the air.

With hay fever, the symptoms show up as a runny nose, nasal congestion, teary eyes and fatigue. These allergy symptoms are not a mere nuisance.

Read more

There are ways to decrease pollen exposure

The wonderful spring time weather is here and along with it, pollen is rearing its ugly head in Kentucky. Many residents have most likely experienced the common symptoms of seasonal allergies as a result: sneezing, itchy/watering eyes, and stuffy noses. Allergies are certainly no fun for anyone.

Read more

Half of nasal allergy sufferers have sleep issues

More than half of U.S. nasal allergy sufferers report sleep issues as a result of their allergy symptoms, but 35 percent treat their symptoms, a survey says.

Read more

Respiratory Symptoms And Exacerbations In COPD Worsened By Allergic Disease

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who also have allergic disease have higher levels of respiratory symptoms and are at higher risk for COPD exacerbations, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Read more

Infographic-Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are particularly bad this time of year. Find out how you can avoid the sneezing and itchy eyes of allergies in every season.


Infographic by Andi Simons
April 24, 2013

Being born in United States raises allergy risk, study suggests

Allergy season can be brutal depending on where in the United States you live, because of pollution, pollen counts and other factors.

A new study suggests simply being born in America may be another reason to blame for allergies.

Read more

Parents' Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby's Allergies

That word "microbiome" — describing the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies — keeps popping up. This time, researchers say that children whose parents clean their pacifiers by sucking them might be less likely to develop allergic conditions because of how their parents' saliva changes their microbiomes.

That's the word from a small of 184 Swedish babies published in this week's issue of the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that the 65 babies whose mother or father sucked on their pacifiers to cleanse them were significantly less likely to get eczema and asthma, two conditions caused by allergic reactions, than babies whose parents did not use the cleaning technique.

"This is a really interesting and intriguing observation," says of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, who was not involved in the research.

The findings add credence to a growing body of evidence that suggests that exposure, or the lack of exposure, to microbes early in life can affect a child's health by influencing his or her microbiome.

"There's recently been an explosion of interest in the microbiome and how it might influence many things — but in particular someone's propensity to develop an allergic disease," Matsui says.

To investigate the role of pacifier cleaning, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and his colleagues analyzed data they had collected for a broader study about babies' allergies. Among the questions the parents had answered was what they did when their child's pacifier fell out of his or her mouth.

"We asked them how they cleaned the pacifier — if they rinsed them in water — and of course most of them did," Hesselmar says. But a lot of the parents did something else.

"They put it in their mouth, sucked on it and then gave it back to the children," Hesselmar says. "It's a quite common way to clean pacifier."

When the researchers checked to see if there were any differences between the kids whose parents sucked their pacifiers clean and those who didn't, they found there was. Those whose parents sucked the pacifiers clean were significantly less likely to have developed eczema at 18 and 36 months and less likely to have developed asthma at 18 months, the researchers say.

"Eczema is the best disease to choose [as a marker] if you want to see if a young child is becoming allergic," Hesselmar says.

Scientists think that when parents suck their child's pacifier clean, they transfer some of the harmless bacteria in their mouths to their child, Hesselmar says. In fact, the researchers found evidence supporting that when they analyzed the saliva of the babies in the study.

"We think that these bacteria ... stimulate the immune system," Hesselmar says. And that teaches it how to do its job properly, which includes not overreacting to things like peanuts, pollen and cats, he says.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that lots of kids these days may be growing up essentially , Matsui says.

"We are much less likely to be exposed to organisms in water — parasites, for example — so the idea is there is much less for the immune system to fight off. So it starts reacting to things that perhaps it should be ignoring," Matsui says.

Amanda Sauer, 35, of Washington, D.C., uses a pacifier when her 2-year-old son, Leo, gets fussy. When it falls to the ground she often washes it off.

Sauer's not sure the new research will make her start licking Leo's dirty pacifier.

"Probably not," she says. "But it's more for just the fact that I don't really want to put a pacifier in my mouth. But sometimes the dog cleans it off for us, so maybe that's just as good."


by Rob Stein
May 06, 2013

Blurry vision and allergic shiners? How to treat eye allergies

Up to 40 percent of the U.S. population suffers from itchy and watery eyes. Seasonal allergy symptoms experienced in the eye area can result in practical problems such as extreme sensitivity to bright light, blurry vision and an annoying desire to rub your eyes.

Many allergy patients also experience darkness and/or swelling underneath one or both eyes. This is known as “allergic shiners,” and is simply the result of congestion in the sinuses that slightly affect ones blood flow. Some of the smaller blood vessels beneath the skin may enlarge and show up as darkness (often purplish) right under the eyes.

My female patients try to remedy this situation by using facial cosmetics, such as concealers and foundation, as a cover-up to the puffiness and dark circles.

But, upon medical examinations, we often find that our patients’ have allergic sensitivities to the very eye make-up they are using to try and look better. Mascara and eyeliner in particular make the allergic shiner worse, rather than fixing the problem.

Other hygienic products that may worsen one’s allergic shiner include hair care products, facial moisturizers and products containing fragrances.

In-office allergy patch tests can easily identify if contact dermatitis, or skin allergies, are present, and may explain the puffiness, redness and irritated eyelids.

The next step, after removing irritant eye make-ups and creams, is to look for specific solutions to treat the allergy or sinus disease. Of course, dehydration, lack of sleep and familial facial characteristics may contribute to ones unfavorable physical appearance. Many of us tend to have more puffiness around the eyes upon wakening, as a result of the horizontal or recumbent sleeping position in which fluid has accumulated, and will subsequently diminish during the day.

Another indicator may be one’s amount of salt intake, which can contribute to the retention of fluid within and around your lids. Low-tech treatments such as “cool” compresses around your eyelids will help reduce swelling and residual daytime puffiness.

Bottom-line: Visit your doctor to have a diagnosis confirmed. A simple in-office allergy test can help pinpoint whether you have seasonal or indoor allergies. Second, many allergy patients benefit from prescription antihistamine eye drops as well as oral antihistamines. Last, a sinus evaluation can also detect inflamed or blocked sinus passages that require appropriate remedies.

After you complete these steps you will be on your way to feeling better and having younger-looking eyes.


By Dr. Clifford Bassett
Published April 29, 2013

Spring Flowers Bring Itchy Eyes, Runny Noses to Millions of Americans

Spring has arrived and warm weather is on its way. While many of us are eager for the change, nearly 50 million Americans now face the start of spring allergy season. Those who suffer from allergies are familiar with the nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy and watery eyes that accompany change in seasons. While it's impossible to avoid all allergens, Northwestern Medicine(R) experts urge preparation and recognizing allergy triggers to minimize symptoms this spring.

Read more

Warm-Up Brings Allergy Woes to Northeast

Seasonal allergies will be in full swing this week in the Northeast as seasonable temperatures take hold.

Read more

8 Allergy Myths, Busted!

Runny nose, watery eyes... Oh, no—it’s hay fever time again! Allergic rhinitis (aka seasonal sniffling) has doubled in each of the last three decades, and about 40 million Americans now have it, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Many factors may explain this trend, including air pollution and climate change, says Leonard Bielory, M.D., an allergist at Rutgers University. “Environmental shifts affect the pollination patterns of plants, and irritants in the air can cause inflammation that exacerbates allergies and asthma.” Improved hygiene practices play a role as well. We’re exposed to fewer germs, so our immune systems are more apt to overreact when in contact with allergens.

Read more

Ford engineers design an allergy-friendly car

Allergy sufferers can buy pillows, toys and even flooring designed to reduce their symptoms, but now they can add a new item to their shopping list: an allergy friendly car. Through extensive testing, engineers at Ford have reduced the use of materials known to cause allergens in the 2013 Ford Fusion and other vehicles in the Ford lineup.

FDA warns on adverse effects of over-the-counter allergy medications for kids

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned parents to be aware of the active ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC ) allergy medications for kids.

Read more

Five Smart Rules for Kids with Spring Allergies

Ah, spring. The season of blooming flowers, warm days, and for many—achoo!—snuffling and sneezing. If you spend your days combatting seasonal allergies, there’s a good chance your kids may develop the same symptoms. “Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of adults and children have allergic rhinitis [hay fever],” says Todd A. Mahr, M.D., chair of the section of Allergy & Immunology at the American Academy of Pediatrics. “And it can be passed down genetically. A child with one allergic parent has about a 25 percent chance of developing allergies; if two parents are allergic, that goes up to about 60 percent.” A family history of asthma can also dramatically raise a child’s risk for allergies.

Read more

Your 12 worst allergy mistakes

Allergies are the worst. A stuffy nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and other allergy symptoms can make life a misery. But is your own cluelessness contributing to the problem?

Here are the 12 biggest mistakes people make when it comes to allergies -- and the smart ways to avoid them. There, don't you feel better already?

Read more

How to survive a worse-than-usual allergy season

Allergy sufferers dread hearing the following words: “It’s going to be the worst allergy season ever!”

So, how is spring 2013 shaking out? Unfortunately, it’s true. This likely will be one the worst allergy seasons to date due to an explosion of powerful pollens brought on by climate change and increased greenhouse gases.

Read more

Global warming brings on more pollen

With global warming, temperature extremes are becoming a norm -- and that's bad news for allergy sufferers.

In a single century, our planet went from one of the coldest decades since the last ice age to one of the hottest. That hasn't happened in the last 11,300 years, according to a recent study on global temperatures published in the journal Science.

Read more

Allergy season expected to arrive early, hit hard

You might want to start stocking up on the nasal decongestants. Allergy season is expected to arrive early and hit hard.

This winter’s roller coaster ride of temperatures has created a perfect storm.  When you have really warm days and then really cold days and then warm days again, you get really intense bursts of pollen.

Grass, pollen, ragweed, trees, dust mites – they’ll be out in full force, bringing watery eyes and dry, scratchy throats.

“I think the trend we’ve seen over the past five to 10 years, and we’re not exactly sure why, is that the spring pollen season seems to be getting more intense,” said Dr. Mark Holbreich.

Pollen is more likely to affect allergy sufferers on dry, windy days. Cold, wet days usually provide some respite.

If your symptoms are only there for a couple of days, antihistamines should work fine.  If you’re one of those who suffer every season, though, you should talk to your doctor about long-term medicine or allergy shots.


How to breathe easier in your own home this spring

With spring on the horizon, airborne allergens and pollutants can cause much grief to homeowners who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma and seasonal allergies. With the potential for increased irritation, allergy sufferers typically seek long-term, consistent relief any way they can.

Read more

Alternative business models keep doctors in business and thriving

As doctors weigh whether to stay in their practices or become employed in a group practice or at a hospital, they’re increasingly looking to alternative business models in order to remain – and thrive.

Read more

Frequent spring allergy questions answered

Spring is in the air – and that means pollen, mold spores and other airborne allergens are going to bring on sneezing and wheezing for an estimated 40 to 50 million Americans.

The spring season can be especially bothersome with so much conflicting information on how to find relief. To help you better understand spring allergies and combat symptoms this sneezing season, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), has answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Read more

How to handle allergies in school

Pollens from schoolyard trees and grasses may trigger your child’s allergies. Or indoor allergens such as mold and animal dander may set them off.

Make a reference card about your child’s triggers and reactions for the school nurse. Be sure to include your child’s typical allergy symptoms and what triggers them, medication and mobile telephone numbers to reach you.

Read more

Pollen is peaking and Tampa's allergy season is here

TAMPA --Get ready for a good cry. Allergy season is here.Oaks, cypress, cedar and other trees have begun their annual bloom in the Tampa Bay area, marking a six-to-eight week heyday for watery and red eyes, stuffy noses and all-around misery for allergy sufferers.

Read more

What sets off your asthma?

Winter can be tough on asthma sufferers: Cold, dry air can set off symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing. But you can reduce your exposure and minimize symptoms. Here are three triggers linked to cold weather, and tips to help protect your health:

Read more

Flu Symptoms Could be Winter Allergies

Are you worried that you're getting a cold? It might actually be something else.

This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in years. But not every sniffle and sneeze signals the flu or a cold. They could mean winter allergies.

Read more

Tips for dealing with cedar allergies

Sunny, breezy weather can be harsh on cedar sufferers.

If you suffer from cedar allergies, try to stay indoors on a high pollen day.

Read more

The surprising truth about carpet

Carpet has gained quite the reputation in the past decade, fueled by a multitude of assumptions. But is there truth behind the rumors about this very popular flooring option? With a little investigation you’ll find many are completely false – making carpet a viable flooring option that can benefit everyone, from allergy sufferers to penny pinchers to the elderly.

Read more

Do I Have Fall Allergies or the Flu?

Are you feeling tired? Have a scratchy throat? Maybe you nose is running. This is happening to many people right now.

You may be wondering what is going on. Am I getting sick or what?

Read more

Four things you might not know about fall allergies

As most allergy sufferers will tell you, allergy symptoms can always be bothersome, turning any time of year into sneezing season. A runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat can arise as the days get shorter and the leaves begin to change.

Read more

Spring allergies… in summer, autumn and winter!

Allergic diseases are becoming more common, and they don’t only affect people in spring. While high levels of pollen at spring time increase the rate of hay fever, lower levels of pollen occur throughout the year and can cause allergic huffing and puffing, sneezing and wheezing at any time of year.

Read more

Kids' Best Friend? Dogs, Cats May Lower Risk for Respiratory Illnesses

Katy Nelson, a veterinarian from Alexandria, Va., feels fortunate that her young children -- a 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter -- haven't been sick very much.

"My daughter had one cold after she turned 1," Nelson said.

She attributes their good health to a number of things. She keeps a clean house, washes her children's hands and has pets -- a dog and a turtle.

"Science has proven having pets can have multiple benefits, both psychological and medical," she said.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that she may be right about the health benefits of pets.

Read more

Keep Up the Good Work(out), Even Under Common Summer Problems

Workouts often go one of two ways during the Summer months: either you're inspired to exercise more because it's beautiful outside, or a busy calendar or uncomfortable weather get in the way of a sweat session. If the latter sounds all too familiar, here's how to make sure workouts happen even when a hot, hectic Summer is throwing these problems your way.

Read more

Dealing with allergies in the Allergy Capital

Knoxville ranks first in the nation, but no one is cheering. Instead, many of us are reaching for tissue, over-the-counter antihistamines, and a neti pot.

Read more

Wearing perfume? You're not allowed in here

Wearing perfume or after-shave? You're not allowed in here.

Some government offices are banning the use of perfumes.

That's the message some government offices and hospitals are giving visitors.

Read more

Dust Mites and Allergies

dust mites

When I moved into my current home in Southern California nearly 20 years ago, I went searching for nontoxic paint, carpeting, and other furnishings. My efforts were met mostly with odd looks and raised eyebrows (ah, the olden days!). So I was overjoyed when I finally found Mary Cordaro, just starting out on her path as a consultant on healthy, green home building and remodeling. She spoke my language! She immediately became my non-toxic home guide, and over the years I have referred her numerous friends and patients: people with allergies or, simply, those interested in green, clean living. Mold, volatile chemicals, indoor and outdoor pollution -- you name it, she has a resource. President of Mary Cordaro, Inc., she works as a healthy home consultant and certified Bau-biologist,lecturing around the country as well.

Read more

Ozone action days can flare up asthma, allergies

Summer months — especially ozone action days — can be tough on people with asthma and allergies. Phones ring constantly at the offices of medical doctors such as Todd Holman at East Texas Allergy & Asthma Associates in Longview.

Read more

Are your allergies worse this season?

Achoo! A-a-a-choo!

The sounds of sneezes are often heard these days, especially since our mild winter accelerated the spring allergy season, according to allergy specialist Dr. Virginia E. Feldman of Hudson Valley Ear, Nose & Throat in the Town of Wallkill.

"This year is unusual," Feldman says. "Warm weather forced plants to bloom and flower weeks ahead of schedule."

Read more

Traveling with Allergies

a woman blowing on a dandelion while traveling with allergies

Summer vacation. It conjures up visions of relaxation, sports, sunny days, perhaps sand and water or woodlands. For individuals and families with asthma and allergies though, it means extra thought and preparation before "the good times roll."

Read more

Dust-bust all you like — you’ll never get rid of mites

Once a week, Diane Foernssler takes arms against the dust that invades her Darien, Ill., home, using everything from the vacuum cleaner to a special mop for blinds and baseboards.

Read more

Workplace less supportive of allergies

U.S. schools offer support for children with allergies, but the workplace is far less supportive of those with food or other allergies, a U.S. food expert says.

Read more

Asthma and Your Allergies


Have you wondered why every time your nasal allergies act up your asthma does too?

The connection between asthma and nasal allergy symptoms of allergic rhinitis, commonly called "hay fever," has been the subject of many epidemiological investigations, identifying a significant overlap between these diseases.

Read more

5 Surprising Summer Allergies

..and how not to let them derail your warm weather fun.

Memorial day is the unofficial start of summer and avoiding a few nasty surprises can help you breathe easily during the next few months.

Read more

Allergy management includes traditional, alternative treatments

Spring is here and it’s a sure bet allergy sufferers don’t need any reminders that along with the blooming flowers, they now have to deal with itchy eyes, runny or stuffy noses, scratchy throats, tingling ears and dozens of sneezes.

Read more

Healthy update: Asthma and allergy tips help you find relief

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma. In addition, asthma is a leading cause of hospital emergency department visits and school absenteeism, and it also is the cause of 3,500 annual deaths.

Read more

The Biggest Mistake Parents Make In Preventing Asthma in Children

The start of spring may be bad news for the over 60 million seasonal allergy sufferers in the U.S., but allergies among children are the most worrisome - they are largely responsible for the growing number of children suffering from asthma. An estimated 6.5 million Americans under the age of 18 suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic illness in childhood. It is the main reason children miss school and the leading cause of childhood hospitalization.

Read more

Seasonal Allergies and Depression

a woman experiencing allergies and depression

Anyone who has suffered from seasonal allergies knows that they can play much more havoc on the mind and body than causing some sneezing and a runny nose. In fact, recent studies have showed that there is a possible real link between allergies and depression.

Read more

6 Tips for Exercising Through Allergy Season

Don’t let watery eyes and a runny nose keep you from a spring workout. Avoid the pitfalls of allergy season with these expert tips

Read more

Weather conditions lead to difficult season for allergy sufferers

A mild winter and periods of heavy rain are just two factors contributing to what has already been a particularly difficult season for allergy sufferers in the county.

Read more