What Allergy Treatments Are Available
Treatments can help a great deal, says Dr. Hsu. Allergy treatment has changed over the past 10 years, with a number of first-line medications now available over the counter, she says. So, while we have lots of consultations with patients, we dont necessarily send a prescription to the pharmacy. We often advise people on what to buybut we want to be very specific, because there are certainly a lot of over-the-counter medications that we would not recommend as first-line treatments.
For instance, she might start with antihistamines for itching and runny nose, steroid nasal sprays for nasal passage congestion, and antihistamine eye drops for ocular symptoms. If a patient is still uncomfortable, she might recommend a decongestant, but not for daily use, since its a medication patients can become overly reliant on. Likewise, some patients should avoid antihistamines that are excessively sedating, she says.
The problem is that some people think theyll just grin and bear it. But… you can take steps to minimize those weeks of misery.Yale Medicine pediatric allergist Stephanie Leeds, MD
Its helpful when patients have a skin or blood test to find out exactly what they are allergic to. If you are really symptomatic, its helpful to get tested at least once. I dont think you need to be re-tested year after year, but at some point, establishing the specific triggers can be helpful, because then you can take steps to avoid exposure, Dr. Leeds says.
What Are Seasonal Allergies When Do They Start And How Long Do They Last
Allergies can sometimes be confusing, and there are many misconceptions about them. Also called allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies are the result of your body mounting an immune defence to a harmless substance in most cases, pollen.
Unlike bee-pollinated plants like roses, many trees and grasses release their pollen in large quantities so that the wind can pollinate their species. If you have allergies, these tiny grains of pollen in the air make your body think its under attack by a pathogen. This causes your immune system to release histamine, resulting in all the unpleasant allergy symptoms youre familiar with.
Since pollen is usually the cause of most seasonal allergies, allergy season coincides with spring. Most people who experience allergies usually find their symptoms start somewhere around March or April with tree pollen season. It can change, however, depending on weather patterns, arriving earlier in warmer years, and later in colder ones.
Just as the trees begin to decrease their pollen production, grasses begin to ramp up theirs. Grass pollen is at its peak over the summer months June, July, and August. Weeds and their pollen also creep in during those warmer months, but the worst of the worst ragweed shows up in August and sticks around until the first frost.
Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies With Asthma
Its allergy season and that means you or someone you love is likely to experience sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common condition affecting more than 5 million children and 19 million adults.1 Symptoms are usually the most prevalent in the fall and spring when there is more pollen from trees, grass, and weeds circulating in the air.
For the 25 million Americans who have asthma,2 allergy season can be a particularly difficult time of year. On top of pollen, dry, wet, or windy weather can make asthma worse.
What makes some allergy seasons worse?
How bad the allergy season is depends on a couple of different factors. The first is climate. Milder temperatures and warmer winters cause plants to pollinate earlier. This results in a longer spring allergy season. Once someone who suffers from allergies is exposed to pollen or other allergy triggers their immune system is primed to react to the allergen. This means that even if temperatures cool down later, they will still experience allergy symptoms and have to deal with them for longer.
The second factor is rain. Rain can break up clumps of grass and weed pollen into smaller particles that can spread through the air more quickly and increase allergy symptoms. Rain and humidity also spur the growth of grass, weeds, mold, and dust.
How do seasonal allergies affect asthma?
What can I do to help with allergies?
What are my medication options?
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Ways You’re Making Your Seasonal Allergies Worse
4 min Read Time
For many people in the United States, the warmer, longer days of spring can’t come soon enough. But for tens of millions of people, early spring marks the beginning of yet another allergy season – and the sniffling, sneezing, itching, wheezing and overall frustration that comes with it.
In the U.S., those with seasonal allergies may contend with these irritating symptoms as early as February and they may linger until early summer. The main culprits triggering this misery are tree, grass and weed pollen. These yellowish powders fertilize plants and are spread by wind, insects and birds.
A rainy spring can help plants – and mold – grow more quickly, causing allergy symptoms to linger for months. Milder winter temperatures can also cause plants to pollinate early, which means that spring allergy season is starting earlier and lasting longer.
And the problem is likely getting worse, not better. Pollen counts are expected to double by 2040, according to research presented at the 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
If you’re one of the millions affected by seasonal allergies, it’s important to make sure you’re doing all that you can to keep your symptoms under control. This includes being aware of all the ways you may be unintentionally making your allergies even worse.
Avoid these missteps, which could trigger a flare up of your symptoms.
How Can I Treat A Peanut Allergy
Carrying adrenaline and avoiding allergens are important steps, but small traces of peanuts can be found in many products. To build a tolerance to the point where you can actually eat peanuts without risk, you would need to follow a course of oral immunotherapy treatment .
OIT requires an individual to consume gradually increasing amounts of peanuts over a period of around 612 months. This process builds tolerance, reducing the chances your immune system will react to any peanut proteins in your body. With ongoing maintenance, you can substantially limit the risk of peanuts to yourself or to your child.
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What Triggers Your Allergy Symptoms
If you have respiratory allergies, you may experience a collection of symptoms that all start with your nose perhaps you take a breath and a substance like pollen or dust lands on the lining of your nose. These substances, called allergens, may cause a release of chemicals that produce symptoms as your body attempts to protect you from what it perceives as a threat. This is an immune response. Allergens include pollen, dander, mold or dust mite droppings all pollutants you may find in your home and bedroom.
Allergy And Geneenvironment Interactions
Many features of allergic inflammation resemble those of the inflammation that results from immune responses to infection with enteric helminths13 or from cutaneous responses to the bites of ectoparasites such as ticks14. Similarities to aspects of immune responses to parasites or environmental allergens have also been identified, notably that both involve TH2 cells and are associated with antigen-specific IgE. These similarities have led to the idea that in allergic disorders the immune system is tricked into reacting to otherwise inconsequential allergens in the same way as it does to signals derived from enteric helminths or ectoparasites.
The molecular mechanisms underlying the hygiene hypothesis continue to be explored13,1517, but there can be no doubt that the recent marked increase in allergic disorders reflects recent changes in the interactions between the external environment and those individuals who are genetically predisposed to develop allergic diseases. Accordingly, many researchers are attempting to understand the geneenvironment interactions that promote the development, increase the severity or limit the resolution of allergic inflammation18,19. There is already evidence that exposure to the same microbial products can have the opposite effect on an individuals propensity to develop allergic disorders, depending on an individuals genotype19.
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Food Allergy Myths And Misconceptions
Show your support for the food allergy community by helping to dispel popular myths and misconceptions.
FARE is dedicated to speaking up for the 32 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Whether you live with food allergies or care for someone who does, brushing up on the facts is a great place to start. You can show your support for the food allergy community by helping to dispel these popular myths and misconceptions.
Myth: Each allergic reaction will get worse and worse. Fact: Food allergy reactions are unpredictable.
Fact: This is more than just an itch or a stomachache. Food allergies can cause symptoms from hives and a stuffy nose, to vomiting, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. If an allergic reaction is severe or involves several parts of the body, it becomes anaphylaxis and can be life-threatening.
Food allergies are not only potentially life-threatening, theyre life-altering. People with food allergies must always be vigilant to ensure they avoid reactions.
Fact: For someone with a food allergy, even a trace of a food allergen can trigger a severe reaction. You must remove the allergen completely from your diet to stay safe and live well.
How Do Allergies Happen
If a child with an allergy is exposed to that allergen, their immune system mistakenly believes it’s harming their body. It overreacts, treating the substance as an invader and trying to fight it off. To protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E . These cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader.”
It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.
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Do Bee Stings Get Worse Each Time
So, youve been stung by a bee. Hopefully, your symptoms werent too painful! But are you wondering how bad the symptoms may be the next time youre stung? Its common to wonder whether youve experienced relatively typical bee sting symptoms and if it will continue to be the norm for you into the future. Should you be worried or relieved? Do your bee stings get worse each time?
Take some time to learn:
- Contributing factors to bee sting allergic reactions
- Which type of reaction youve had in the past
- What your past reactions might predict about your future encounters with bees
- How to move forward, prepared and confident
While its good to read up on this information, nothing takes the place of meeting with a medical provider. If you have questions or concerns, make sure to talk to a local specialist.
What Is Anaphylactic Shock
Anaphylactic shock, also called anaphylaxis, is a severe, life-threatening reaction to certain allergens. Body tissues may swell, including tissues in the throat. Anaphylactic shock is also characterized by a sudden drop in blood pressure. The following are the most common symptoms of anaphylactic shock. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Other symptoms may include:
Itching and hives over most of the body
Swelling of the throat and tongue or tightness in throat
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
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Treatment For Asthma From Pollen Allergies
If you have asthma caused by pollens, your doctor will prescribe the correct medication and help you to develop a plan to manage your asthma. Make sure you follow your asthma action plan.
Asthma can be well controlled with the appropriate medication in almost all people. The main types of medication are:
- Relievers act quickly to relax the muscles around the airways. This is the medication used during an asthma attack.
- Preventers slowly make the airways less sensitive to allergy triggers and reduce inflammation inside the airways. These are taken daily.
- Combination therapies preventers containing 2 different medications.
If you have an asthma attack, follow your asthma action plan. In case of emergency, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance. Tell the operator that someone is having an asthma attack.
The signs of an emergency include when the person:
- finds it very difficult to breathe
- is unable to speak comfortably or if their lips are turning blue
- has symptoms that get worse very quickly
- is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler.
While waiting for the ambulance, give 4 puffs of reliever medication every 4 minutes.
Keeping A Record Of Your Symptoms
Keep a diary that describes your symptoms and when and where they occur. Your diary could include information about whether your symptoms occur:
- inside your home, outside or both
- for a short time or longer
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- at a particular time of the year
- near animals
- after you have been stung or bitten by an insect
- after you have had a particular food or drink
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine.
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Steps To Take After Your Bee Sting
Most systemic reactions begin within 30 minutes after a sting. Typically, a reaction is more severe the sooner it begins to appear. For most people, systemic reactions then start subsiding within a few hours, but there is a small chance of relapse 6-11 hours later.11
Since bee stings can be so serious, and symptoms can appear differently, there are important steps you should take after being stung:
Preventative and reactive treatments are available for people with severe bee sting allergies. Find out what treatments can keep you safe and reduce your risk of a systemic allergic reaction.
Letting Furry Friends Sleep In Your Bed
Sure, you love your pets, and snuggling up with them in bed can be cozy. But this tempting habit could be making your allergies worse. Pollen can settle into your pets’ fur, triggering symptoms. Keep your pets out of your bed, or better yet, keep them out of your bedroom altogether.
If your symptoms are particularly bothersome, restricting pets to certain rooms so they can’t wander can help reduce the spread of potential allergens. These steps may be helpful but they’re not foolproof. Allergens can still spread beyond the rooms that pets occupy. If you have pets and you also suffer from seasonal allergies, it’s also a good idea to bathe or groom them at least once a week.
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Why Allergy Symptoms May Feel Worse At Night
Some research has focused on how the chemicals released during the bodys immune response to allergens can impact allergy symptoms at night and disrupt sleep. Your sleep-wake cycle, that is the cycle which controls the cadence of sleep and wakefulness, is controlled by a large number of hormones which transition your body from an active to inactive state. Some of these hormones are also involved with regulating your allergic reactions. A reason why you may find that your allergies are worse, particularly at night, is that certain allergy-regulating hormones dip when your sleep-wake cycle is going towards sleep .
Here are some common allergy symptoms you may experience, both shortly after exposure to an allergen and those that can develop later, according to the NIH and a review of the body of literature on sleep and allergies done by Koinis-Mitchell et al., :
Ige And The Exacerbation Of Allergic Disorders
Many patients who initially have a single allergic disorder, such as atopic dermatitis, eventually develop others, such as allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma 72. This process may be driven in part by a vicious circle in which allergic inflammation diminishes the function of the epithelial barrier. This increases the immune systems exposure to the original allergens and additional allergens, and existing allergen-specific IgE contributes to sensitiz ation to new allergens21. In this scheme, antigen-presenting cells that express surface FceRI and/or the low-affinity IgE receptor CD23 capture allergens by means of their surface-bound allergen-specific IgE. By processing these IgE-bound antigens, APCs can promote the development of TH2-cell responses to other epitopes of the allergen for which sensitization already exists or to other allergens that are being processed in parallel by the same APCs21. This proposed mechanism may result in epitope spreading 21.
In addition, several effector mechanisms that are independent of IgE may also contribute to the pathology of allergic inflammation. In a mouse model of chronic asthma, mast cells can substantially influence features of chronic allergic inflammation and tissue remodelling , independently of mast-cell signalling through either IgEFcRI or antigenIgG1FcRIII75. Thus mast cells have the potential to drive important features of allergic inflammation independently of IgE.
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