Spring into action against allergies

Apr 13, 2009 By Joe Miller

It's spring allergy season, and many of you are ready to wave the white flag -- a wad of tissues, that is -- in surrender.

Yet hopeless as your battle against pollen, mold and mites might seem, allergists and others who deal with rhinitis problems say you shouldn't sentence yourself to life indoors just yet.

"A lot of time people who have been walking around with allergies for years think they're saddled with it," said Dr. John Sundy of Duke Medicine's Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care. "There are a lot of options."

1. Avoidance

The best way to avoid allergies is to steer clear of the irritants. "You don't want to take the outdoors inside with you." said Dr. James Sublett, of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Start at the front door. "Use a tracking mat to wipe your feet," he said. "Actually, it's a good idea to take your shoes off," as well as your clothes, and deposit them directly in the washer. And take a shower, especially before going to bed.

And there are options to be leery of. "We don't recommend ionizers that produce ozone," Sublett said of one often-hyped treatment for allergy sufferers. "Ozone is bad for you."

2. Medications

Both Sublett and Sundy say medications can be effective in treating allergy symptoms.

"Start with a saline irrigation of the nose," Sundy said. Rinse kits are commercially available, or you can make your own solution, according to www.about.com. Rinses can reduce sinus swelling, making it easier for your body to rid itself of whatever is irritating you.

"The next step would be an oral antihistamine," Sundy said.

Probably the most effective treatment for reducing allergy symptoms is nasal steroid sprays, Sundy said, because "they significantly reduce the in the nose that's responsible for causing allergy symptoms."

3. Shots

The goal of shots to gradually build up immunity by injecting increasingly larger doses of the into the body. According to Sublett, the treatment usually begins with a flurry of shots -- two or three a week for two to four weeks -- followed by "maintenance" shots every two to four weeks. A patient may have to stay on that regimen for years.

Sometimes the disappears for good; sometimes it reappears after a few years. The treatment is generally most effective for folks with year-round allergies.

The biggest drawback: the commitment.

___

(c) 2009, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.).
Visit The News & Observer online at www.newsobserver.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Shoppers confused by 'traffic light' food labels, says study

Related Stories

Researchers evaluating food allergy treatment

Apr 17, 2008

Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center are conducting trials to evaluate a method to prevent allergic reactions to food. They are feeding peanut- and egg-allergic people increasing doses of an investigational ...

Experts warn against allergy alternatives

Mar 22, 2007

Experts at the University of Washington and other colleges warn that patients seeking alternative allergy treatments should not quit standard medications.

Pilot study successful in taming allergic reactions to food

Nov 22, 2006

Children who were allergic to eggs were able to essentially overcome their allergy by gradually consuming increased quantities of eggs over time, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the University of Arkansas ...

Hay fever can send work productivity down the drain

Apr 26, 2007

Employers can blame hay fever for the loss of millions of hours of work productivity this spring. A new study of nearly 600 people with hay fever symptoms, including sneezing, watery eyes and runny and itchy noses, found ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Insurer Aetna to buy Humana in $35B deal

19 hours ago

Aetna will spend about $35 billion to buy rival Humana and become the latest health insurer bulking up on government business as the industry adjusts to the federal health care overhaul.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

21 hours ago

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.