Posts Tagged ‘season for sneezing’

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.

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Help for Holiday Allergies

Christmas tree allergies, mold, conifer trees, fragrance allergies, sniffles, sneezing

Mold spores may be the other “gifts” found under your Christmas tree.

You may be miserable this holiday season but not necessarily because of stress or visiting family.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, many people experience sniffling, itchy eyes and nose, and shortness of breath due to a Christmas tree allergy.

Some Conifer trees carry mold spores that trigger allergic reactions or even asthma.

If you and your family prefer a real tree over an artificial one, then try putting the tree in the garage or an enclosed porch for several days until it dries. Give it a good shake outside before bringing it in to decorate.

For many, it is a post-holiday annual tradition to store away holiday decorations. Wipe everything thoroughly as you unpack items from storage before displaying the decorations in your home so dust won’t irritate your sinuses.

We traditionally associate certain fragrances with the holidays and will use artificial sprays and candles to contribute to the holiday spirit. But those strong smells can also trigger sneezing and sniffles so you might want to tone them down a little, especially if your holiday guests seem uncomfortable.

Of course, eliminating exposure to these potential triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions, but that’s not very festive. A good saline rinse used after the exposure to airborne pollutants will help get rid of the irritants in your nose.

Using an herbal-enhanced nasal spray before you are potentially exposed to the airborne irritants at a holiday party will even help protect your sinuses by moisturizing passages so that you can focus on holiday cheer instead of holiday achoo.

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.