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Surviving seasonal allergies


For many, spring and summer means spending time outdoors among flourishing greenery and cleaning out their homes after a long winter cooped up inside. For others, spring means pollen, mold spores and dust mites—some of the most common allergy triggers.

When allergens enter the nose, the immune system interprets them as a foreign substance and begins releasing antibodies to fight them off. When the antibodies attack the allergens, a chemical called histamine is released into the blood and causes classic allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itchy or watery eyes. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat seasonal allergies, with both medication and lifestyle options.

Over the counter medications
For mild seasonal allergies, nasal sprays and oral over the counter (OTC) antihistamines can be helpful. Antihistamines are exactly what they sound like: they reduce allergy symptoms by lowering the amount of histamine made when an allergen enters your body. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so read the label carefully! Continue Reading »

How to prevent bug bites

Some children with no other known allergies may have severe reactions to insect stings. If you suspect that your child is allergy-prone, discuss the situation with your doctor. He may recommend a series of shots (hyposensitization injections) to decrease your child’s reaction to future insect stings (but not bites). In addition, he will prescribe a special auto-injection kit containing epinephrine for you to keep on hand for use if your child is stung.

It is impossible to prevent all insect bites, but you can minimize the number your child receives by following these guidelines: Continue Reading »

Oral allergy syndrome

With various types of plants coming into bloom this time of year, many of us are consumed by allergies. But what most people are unaware of is that foods and pollen allergies can actually affect one another. Certain foods, like the ones listed below, can react similar to pollen to the body’s immune system and provoke an allergic response.

For example in the springtime, with the substantial amount of tree pollen, it is common for me to see patients who complain of an itchy mouth when eating certain foods. For instance, apples can sometimes cause these symptoms during tree pollen season.

Oral allergy syndrome, an allergic reaction in the mouth, is another common form of IgE-mediated food allergy, which is an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. If you experience an oral allergy syndrome, you will immediately notice when you have a bodily reaction and connect the incident to a certain food you have just eaten, which means you may rarely seek medical attention.These local IgE-mediated reactions result in an immediate swelling of the lips, tingling of the tongue and throat, and blistering of the oral mucosa. Symptoms usually are short-lived and most commonly associated with eating various fresh fruits and vegetables that cross-react with their specific allergic pollen, causing post-nasal drip and congestion. Continue Reading »

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