What to do when allergies are out of control
Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.
Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom. Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.
Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips.
[7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]
Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.
Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source. Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation.
Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.
For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.
Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.
Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.
People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.
Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.
[5 Myths About Probiotics]
This article was updated on April 30, , by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.
An allergic reaction may happen anywhere in the body but generally appears in the nose, eyes, lungs, lining of the stomach, sinuses, throat and skin. These are places where special immune system cells are stationed to fight off invaders that are inhaled, swallowed or come in contact with the skin.
Asthma symptoms happen when airway muscle spasms block the flow of air to the lungs and/or the linings of the bronchial tubes become inflamed.
Excess mucus may clog the airways. An asthma attack is characterized by labored or restricted breathing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and/or wheezing. Sometimes a chronic cough is the only symptom. Asthma trouble can cause only mild discomfort or it can cause life-threatening attacks in which breathing stops altogether.
Atopic and Contact Dermatitis/Hives/Skin Allergies
Atopic and contact dermatitis, eczema and hives are skin conditions that can be caused by allergens and other irritants.
Often the reaction may take hours or days to develop, as in the case of poison ivy. The most common allergic causes of rashes are medicines, insect stings, foods, animals and chemicals used at home or work. Allergies may be aggravated by emotional stress.
Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
Allergic rhinitis is a general term used to describe the allergic reactions that take put in the nose. Symptoms may include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itching of the nose, the eyes and/or the roof of the mouth. When this problem is triggered by pollens or outdoor molds, during the Spring, Summer or Drop, the condition is often called «hay fever.» When the problem is year-round, it might be caused by exposure to home dust mites, household pets, indoor molds or allergens at school or in the workplace.
Anaphylaxis is a rare, potentially fatal allergic reaction that affects numerous parts of the body at the same time.
The trigger may be an insect sting, a food (such as peanuts) or a medication. Symptoms may include:
- redness of the skin and/or hives
- swelling of the throat and/or tongue
- a dangerous drop in blood pressure
- vomiting or diarrhea
- difficulty breathing
- loss of consciousness.
Frequently these symptoms start without warning and get worse rapidly. At the first sign of an anaphylactic reaction, the affected person must go immediately to the closest Emergency Room or call
Millions of people enjoy sharing their homes and their lives with pets, even those who are allergic to animals. Unfortunately, some people believe that once they are diagnosed with a pet allergy, they own no choice but to remove their pets from their family.
Thankfully, there are numerous solutions that can be explored that would permit an allergy sufferer to hold their beloved pets while successfully managing their allergies.
You’d be surprised to know how numerous people with allergies that aren’t life-threatening are capable to live happily with their pets.
In numerous cases, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies.
Tests & diagnosis
A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive. [7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]
Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Reduce the allergens and your symptoms
If you are allergic to your pet and your reactions aren’t life-threatening, there are numerous ways to reduce indoor allergens and allergy symptoms so you and your pet can live together more comfortably.
If your or a family member’s allergies are simply miserable, but not life-threatening, take these five steps to reduce the symptoms:
Create an «allergy free» zone in your home—preferably the allergic person’s bedroom—and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, and consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows.
2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the relax of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as sofa covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds.
Bathe your pet on a weekly basis to reduce the level of allergy-causing dander (shed ancient skin cells). Cats can get used to being bathed, but it’s critical to only use products labeled for them; kittens may need a shampoo safe for kittens. Check with your veterinarian’s staff or a excellent book on pet care for directions about safe bathing, It’s a excellent thought to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian or other animal care professional.
4. Don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Enquire your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander.
Numerous allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen. Reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on every of the causes, not just the pet allergy.
5. Attempt treatments. Additional treatments for allergies to pets are include immunotherapy (allergy shots), steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills.
It is significant to discover an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. A combination of approaches—medical control of symptoms, excellent housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy—is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing. But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.
Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness.
People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]
Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.
People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.
Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»
Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions.
People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said. But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.
Understand your pet allergies
It is significant to see a doctor and be tested to determine what allergies you actually own. You may discover that you’re allergic to something else and not your pet at all! For example, you may assume that you are allergic to your beloved dog, only to discover out through an allergy test that you’re actually allergic to a specific tree pollen that got on his fur during a stroll together, and that’s actually what’s bothering you.
If an allergy test shows that you are allergic to your pet, it is significant to understand what causes your allergic reaction to them.
There are allergy-triggering proteins called allergens in saliva and skin glands that cling to an animal’s dry skin (dander) and fur.
The fur and dander then stick to walls, carpets and clothing.
The reaction of someone to these allergens is diverse from one person to the next. The reaction may range from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma. The reaction can be made worse if a person is additionally exposed to other things he is allergic too, such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, and mold.
Whether someone has an allergic reaction depends on both the individual person and the individual animal. A person with animal allergies may react less to dogs with soft, constantly growing hair, or one specific cat or dog may cause more or less of an allergic reaction than another animal of that same breed.
You may hear claims about breeds of dogs and cats that are non-allergenic (don’t cause an allergic reaction) or cats and dogs that are hypoallergenic (cause less of an allergic reaction).
However, even hairless breeds may cause a severe allergic reaction.
How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap.
The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any hour period. That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.
A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope.
It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S. states.
The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants. As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.
Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass.
Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.
The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne. Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.
Mold allergies are diverse. Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight. During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.