Posts Tagged ‘immunotherpay’

Is it a cold or do I have allergies?

It is the time of year when fall allergies and colds tend to overlap. The symptoms of each can be similar and therefore can make it difficult to know how to treat what ails you.

“A cold generally is more of an upper viral infection that affects the nose and throat,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “My patients will tell me that they had a scratchy throat that has gotten better but now their head is stuffy and their nose is running but everything is clear. These are cold-like symptoms.”

Neuzil explains further the differences between cold symptoms and allergies in this video. He also explains when you should see a medical practitioner to get help.

The little sleep disruptor

Many parents are now trying to get their kids back onto the regular “school sleeping schedule.” After a summer of late nights and lax schedules, this transition time is important so a child gets a good night’s sleep.

We know sleep is essential for good performance a.k.a. “doing well in school.” But did you know that one source of anti-sleep could be residing in your child’s bed?

allergy triggers, dust mites, asthma, indoor allergens

Dust mite allergens are the most common cause of allergy and asthma triggers.

Dust mites are miniscule insects that leave droppings to which many people are allergic.  They enjoy warm temperatures, eat dead skin from pets and humans, and burrow in sofas, beds and even stuffed animals. Believe it or not but we shed enough skin daily to feed a million dust mites.

Dust mite allergy sufferers can experience congestion, sneezing and for people with asthma, wheezing and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can make it difficult to get sleep soundly.

The best way to prevent dust mite allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure:

  • Put airtight, plastic dust-mite covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs.
  • Use pillows filled with polyester instead of feathers.
  • Wash bedding once a week in hot water and dry it in the dryer.
  • Vacuum carpets weekly and wipe up bare floors to get rid of dust.

There are some over the counter medications that help diminish the symptoms but do not treat the problem. Evaluation by your medical provider may help guide you in choosing the right medications and, in some cases, referral to a specialist who is trained in evaluating and treating allergies may be needed.

Allergy testing is used to help identify if an allergy exist and immunotherapy may be used to help stimulate your body’s immune system in developing anti-bodies to help protect against the allergy may be necessary.

One promising bit of news is that researchers are on the cusp of developing a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies. The University of Iowa scientists have had good success with this immunity-approach in lab animals. Here’s hoping tests on the new vaccine continue to go well for human consumption.

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.

 

So, when is the sneezing season?

There’s almost always something in the air. In many parts of the country, it’s apparent when fall and spring allergy season is present.

 However, because various grasses produce irritants, the season for sneezing can extend through the warm summer months, too.

 According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida, golfers are especially susceptible to experiencing sinus irritation.  That’s because many golf lovers take advantage of the warm weather by heading to the greens where they are spend a lot of time on the grass. 

 And while the rainy season can help wash away some of the pollen, it can nurture the growth of mold spores another airborne irritant.

ImageNeuzil said that patients can be tested to determine what they are allergic to and then the patient takes a serum that includes the diluted irritants that cause discomfort. This serum is then injected into the patient. Called immunotherapy, it enables the body’s own immune system to learn to protect itself from these pollutants.

 Of course, not everyone needs the immunotherapy to protect themselves from dry, itchy eyes and noses.  For many people, just avoiding the irritants can make a difference. 

 The trick is being prepared for the potential to be exposed to known or unknown allergens wherever you go.