Archive for April, 2013

Time to Call in the Expert for Allergy Relief?

You’ve been suffering through the sniffles, itchy eyes and sneezing for the same three-week period every year. Despite trying many over-the-counter medications and other therapies, nothing works.

If this describes you, it may be time to call in the expert.

A health care provider who has specialized training and experience to evaluate, diagnose and treat this symptoms may be exactly what you need. They can identify if your symptoms are triggered by allergies or another non-allergic trigger. Your health care provider will take a thorough health history followed by possible allergy testing that can help determine what specific allergen you may be sensitive to. The health care provider will determine whether skin testing, (a process where you may be exposed to “tiny” bite of allergen) or blood testing would be the most appropriate for you.

Once specific allergens are identified, your health care provider will work with you to develop a plan to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites or indoor mold, you will want to take steps to reduce these allergens in your house as much as possible.

Once diagnosed, your provider may prescribe immunotherapy or allergy shots, a proven treatment approach providing long-term relief for many people suffering from allergic rhinitis.

Your provider might also recommend medications to decrease itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefallergic rhinitis symptom which may include nasal corticosteroid sprays, antihistamine pills, nasal antihistamine sprays or decongestant pills. A complete list of medications used to treat allergies can be found in the AAAAI Drug Guide.

“It is important to begin taking allergy medications for seasonal allergies before tree pollen and other irritants are in the air each spring,” says Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida “If you start taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with spring allergens, these medications can help reduce the effects of histamine and other substances responsible for your allergy symptoms.”

Neuzil recommends checking the The National Allergy Bureau TM (NAB) for the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels across the U.S. in order to help across the U.S. in order to help determine when to start taking preventative steps.

 

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Nothing to Sniff at: The Cost of Allergic Rhinitis

kids and allergies, allergic rhinitis, allergens, pollen season, sniffles,

Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic condition in children.

If you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system mistakenly identifies a typically harmless substance as an intruder. This substance is called an allergen and your immune system responds to the allergen by releasing histamine and chemical mediators that typically cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin and roof of the mouth.

Allergic rhinitis can be triggered by outdoor pollutants such as pollen, dust, air pollution, smoke, etc. Often these irritants are prevalent seasonally. Common indoor allergens such as the dried skin flakes, urine and saliva found on pet dander, mold, droppings from dust mites and cockroach particles are also culprits.

Twenty to 40 million Americans are affected by allergic rhinitis, making it the sixth most prevalent chronic illness.

The peak prevalence of allergic rhinitis is observed in children and young adults. Prevalence estimates range from 10 to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children, making allergic rhinitis currently the most common chronic condition found in children.

Allergic rhinitis is responsible for at least $1.8 billion annually for the direct cost of physician visits and medication expenses, or nearly 2.5 percent of the $47 billion annual direct cost for respiratory treatment in the United States.

The estimated value of lost productivity to employers and society resulting from allergic rhinitis approaches nearly $3.8 billion annually. In the mid-1990s the resulting total annual cost for allergic rhinitis amounted to $5.6 billion.

 

Sorting through Symptoms. Is it a Cold or Allergies?

allergies, cold, viruses, lethargic, coughing, sneezing, seasonal allergies, allergic triggersPeople usually associate a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes as the sign allergy season is here. They are the most common reactions associated with allergies.

However, some experience other symptoms which noticeably impact the quality of life but sufferers may not attribute them to allergies.

“A scratchy irritated throat, a dry hacking cough, feeling lethargic or unmotivated and even being unable to perform certain tasks can be related to a person experiencing allergy-type symptoms,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Often those patients will assume they have a cold and treat their symptoms as such when, in fact, they should be addressing what allergies they may have.”

According to Neuzil, the trick is determining what is triggering your symptoms and then treating it with appropriate therapies which may include antihistamines, nasal steroids, decongestants, immunotherapy or even natural approaches.

He says that if you experience a “cold” the same time every year that could be a clue that you are allergic to something in your environment.

Not diagnosing your potential for allergies can have real costs.  According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies is the 5th leading chronic disease and a major cause of work absenteeism and “presenteeism” (coming to work when you’re not feeling well and being unproductive). It results in nearly four million missed or lost workdays each year, resulting in a total cost of more than $700 million in total lost productivity.