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How to Manage Your Allergies

It's not those beautiful roses that make us scratch, sniff and wheeze. It's the pollen from trees, grasses and low-growing things like ragweed (ah choo!).

Don’t be the first to open up the family cabin for the year; in fact don’t rush into any place that’s been closed-up for quite a while.

Here are some of the things you can do to ease your allergies:

 

1. Keep windows and doors closed.

If the pollen count in your area is high, stay inside, and also keep your windows and doors closed. Letting in the “fresh” isn’t a good idea. Keep car windows rolled up, too.

 

2. When you come in from outside, if you’ve been exposed to allergens, take a shower and shampoo your hair.

 

This is one of the best things you can do, and one of the easiest. Take care of the kids in this respect also. A good shower at night keeps dander and other allergens off the pillows and sheets. Wash bedding frequently in good hot water with non-allergenic wash products.

 

3. When allergens are at their peak, stay inside.

This site ( http://www.pollen.com ) will tell you how your city is doing. Generally speaking, allergens are worse in the mornings. Stay inside on windy days, as that’s when the pollen blows around. Pollen counts are gathered from (recently) past data, and it’s know that when the wind is blowing, things are going to get worse for those of us with allergies.

 

4. Avoid fans because they circulate the air, especially that ceiling fan over your bed.

And be sure and clean the dust off those fan blades regularly. Think what you might be circulating.

 

5. Get your bedrooms more friendly.

You may not be able to allergy-minimize the whole house, but do start with the bedrooms. Remove anything that collects dust – curtains, drapes, stuffed toys, rugs, books, and, alas, Fido needs to sleep elsewhere. Use blinds and linoleum or tile for flooring. If you must have carpeting, make sure you vaccum and clean it regularly, and try and keep the children from playing on the floor. Carpets can really collect dog hairs and dander.

 

And speaking of Fido, best allergy-friendly choices for a dog are Maltese, bichon frise and poodle. For a cat, if you’re allergic the best bets are the sphinx or the rex. (Source: Dr. Kross, DVM, http://familyfun.go.com/raisingkids/learn/activities/expert/petvetbestbreeds/petvetbestbreeds.html )

 

6. Avoid places where molds are.

This is typically the basement, lawn mowing, raking leaves and cleaning out gutters, use of humidifiers, and leaving clothes in the washing machine.

 

Don’t let wet towels lie or hang around. Take care of plumbing and roof leaks immediately.

If you use a tent for vacations, make sure you’ve aired it out well before the trip. Also beware of mold in refrigerated jams and jelly, and on cured, salty meats like ham, bacon and salami, certain cheeses. Don’t sniff it, just throw it out. For more on mold and food, go here: http://food.oregonstate.edu/misc/mold.html .

 

7. Wash bedding frequently at a temperature of at least 130 degrees F. and use hypoallergenic covers for mattress, pillows and box springs. (Your bed is full of dust mites).

 

Susan Dunn, MA, EQ coaching, http://www.susandunn.cc , mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc . Individual coaching, business programs, EQ Alive! #1 rated program to increase your EQ – simple, no memorizing, it works. Email for information, and free ezine.

 

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Eight Important Facts & Resources for the Traveler with Allergies

 

If you have allergies and are planning a trip for business or pleasure, plan ahead. You could be entering a high pollen area without knowing it. "…[T]raveling to an Allergy Capital™ [where allergens are high] should be a reminder to allergy sufferers to control allergy symptoms by planning ahead," says Derek Johnson, MD, an allergist at Temple University Medical Center and a medical advisor to AAFA. "Having a personal Allergy Action Plan can help allergy sufferers prevent symptoms from flaring up and understand how to treat symptoms when necessary."

 

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1. If you’re traveling in the US, check out the Top 50 Allergy Capitals™ in the US here: http://www.allergypreventioncenter.com/news2003/top50allergycapitals.html .

Included among them you’ll find some of the most popular destinations for business or pleasure, including Orlando, New York city, New Orleans, Chicago, Washington, DC, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 2. Visit www.pollen.com to see what the pollen count is in the location you plan to visit, and http://www.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm?p=pollen to get pollen and mold count in US and Canada.

 

At http://www.pollen.com/Pollen.com.asp you can sign up to be alerted by email in the morning when conditions in your town or ones to which you frequently travel exceed the trigger point that causes most allergy sufferers to have symptoms.

 

3. The http://www.hon.ch/Library/Theme/Allergy/Glossary/euro.html European pollen calendar presents data collected from 200 pollen stations all over Europe.

 

Tree data includes alder, hazel, birch, ash, olive, plane and cypress. Weed data comes from observations of ragweed, mugwort, pellitory, and nettles. According to the site, “grass pollen is the most important allergen in Europe. As cross-reactivity is extremely high amongst nearly all grasses, for the grass-pollen sensitive patient it makes no difference which grass pollen she or he inhales.”

And, they add, “only the pollen of cultivated rye has a higher allergencity than the pollen of wild grasses.”

 

4. http://www.hon.ch/Library/Theme/Allergy/Glossary/asia.html Pollen calendar for North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia provides pollen information and interesting facts.

 

For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Japan, you might want to know that Japanese cedar pollen, which is one of the most potent known, and causes severe symptoms is present from approximately the end of January until the beginning of April on the north island, and mid-April through early May on the south island.

 

5. Food allergies are not related to location but can cause serious reactions, and food and pollens can cross-react.

 

Here http://www.wfaa.com/weather/allergy/allergy7.html is a chart of foods that cross-react. For instance, if you’re sensitive to ragweed, when it’s pollinating you should avoid egg, milk, bananas, and lettuce.

 

6. Dust, mold and fungus may be present anywhere at any time.

 

7. Anaphylactic shock can occur as the results of eating food, or such things as a bee stings.

 

What’s difficult about food allergies is that they can appear ‘out of the blue.” You can one day be eating lobster and suddenly experience difficulty breathing, itchiness, swelling of the lips and throat, and drop in blood pressure, and finally collapse. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal. The symptoms can start immediately, or up to some hours following.

 

If you've ever suffered anaphylactic shock, you’ve probably been instructed by your physician to carry injectable adrenaline with you and to keep some at home as well.

 

If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately. Some people experience this to bee stings.

 

8. Pay attention to your accommodations. Check things about before you book your room, and change rooms or accommodations if need be.

 

Avoid musty rooms, and don’t take a smoking room. If you are bothered by wall units, make sure your accommodations are centrally heated and cooled. Check out what that comforter’s made of before you dive under the covers in that quaint bed and breakfast, and make sure the places are centrally cooled and heated if wall units and forced heating bother your allergies.

 

Also check for scented candles, new carpeting, ammonia, Clorox, room deodorizers, and perfumes.

 

Check with your personal healthcare professional for a plan for your unique situation.

 

Susan Dunn, MA, EQ coaching, http://www.susandunn.cc , mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc . Individual coaching, business programs, EQ Alive! #1 rated program to increase your EQ – simple, no memorizing, it works. Email for information, and free ezine.

 

The Relentless Link Between Asthma and Allergies

If you have asthma, it's important to understand the strong link between asthma and allergies. In fact, most people who have asthma--especially children--have it as a result of allergic triggers.

 

According to the above site, if you’re allergic to dust, you should avoid seafood, nuts and peanut butter, and if you’re allergic to molds and fungus, you should avoid milk products, vinegars, alcoholic beverages, mushrooms, yeast and sugar. Part of the information on this site is provided by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

 

It's essential to know what triggers--or worsens--your asthma, so that you can then work on avoiding those triggers, if at all possible.

Asthma tends to be much more common in western countries, compared to the poorer, more rural areas of the world. Experts think this is because allergies also tend to be more prevalent in western countries. And, allergy rates are on the rise, which means even more people in this part of the world will be at risk for asthma.

 

Many studies today go a long way toward proving that asthma is caused by our environment. This leads the experts to believe that we may be able to prevent asthma--at least in many cases--simply by changing our environment. Wow, wouldn't that be great? Where do I sign up?!

 

When asthma can be treated by easily removing an allergic trigger (cause), it can be very successful. It works best when the cause is easy to remove, as when the trigger is a fume or a substance you're exposed to only in certain situations. Or, if the trigger is pet dander from cats or dogs, it's also fairly easy to avoid, unless you own the pets, of course.

 

However, the most common cause of asthma is a sensitivity to house dust mites. And, reducing dust mites enough to make a big difference with asthma necessitates significant changes in lifestyle for both the asthma sufferers and their families. Plus, it can be quite expensive to achieve such changes, what with having to toss out carpeting, encasing pillows, mattresses, and bedding in allergy-proof plastic covers, etc.

 

Hopefully, experts will develop future treatments that can change, get rid of, or lessen the allergy process in our bodies. In fact, this is an area where much research is already being done. Here are a couple of pages where you can view some of the research being done in the US on asthma:

 

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct/gui/action/FindCondition?ui=D001249&recruiting=true

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/airborne/research/background.html

 

Kathleen MacNaughton is a registered nurse and accomplished consumer health writer whose work can be seen at http://www.rhinocortaqua.com and http://www.everydaykidz.com For more information on asthma, see Kathleen's site at http://www.asthma-a-to-z.com

Winter Sniffles: Allergies, or the Common Cold?

The cold days of winter bring most of us indoors for the year – and then the sniffles start up. Symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and sore throat are common during the winter months. These unpleasant symptoms can be evidence of a winter cold, but they can also mean indoor allergies. What are the causes of these winter ailments, and how can they be identified (and treated)?

 

Winter weather can indirectly cause both colds and indoor allergies. Colds increase in winter because people spend more time inside, confined to small spaces where viruses and germs can be easily passed around. Also, the viruses which cause colds thrive in low-humidity environments, which are typically found in the cold dry months of winter. Low humidity, combined with air blowing from indoor heating systems, causes drying of the nasal passages, which can increase susceptibility to infection.

 

With indoor allergies, it's a similar story. Indoor allergies are caused by dust, which contains a wide variety of allergy-causing particles like animal dander, mold spores, pollen, dust mites and dust mite waste. Spending more time indoors means increased exposure to these allergens. Plus, indoor heating systems circulate air through the house, knocking loose many allergy causing particles on carpets, furniture, and dusty shelves. Then, these allergens are circulated through your home, right along with the warm cozy air.

Colds and allergies also show themselves in very similar ways, making it difficult to tell them apart. Symptoms of colds include congestion, stuffy nose, swelling of sinuses, sneezing, scratchy sore throat, headaches, aches and pains, fever, and a cough. Allergy symptoms include stuffed or runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, sore throat, watery and itchy eyes, and sometimes headaches. The main difference between cold and allergy symptoms is that colds usually come with body aches and pains and possibly a low-grade fever, while allergies do not. In addition, colds usually last 7-10 days, while allergies will persist as long as the exposure to the offending allergen continues. If you have cold-like symptoms which persist for more than two weeks, it's a good guess that you're dealing with an allergy, not a cold.

 

Because of this allergy-driven addiction problem, some people will like smells that most people do not, e.g. creosote and petrol/gas. Almost invariably the person is allergic to this, and is getting their ‘fix’. Teenagers who sniff glue may be allergic to it, and while counselling may be necessary, correcting this allergy will almost certainly help enormously.

 

Complicating matters, frequent colds may in fact result from allergies. Your body responds to tiny allergens by producing mucus, in an attempt to expel them. However, nasal mucus is also a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, which can cause colds and sinus infections. Treating allergies will help prevent these, which is why it's a good idea to identify allergies early and treat them accordingly.

It's important to distinguish between colds and allergies, in order to give appropriate treatment. Cold viruses thrive in low humidity, and nasal dryness can lead to increased susceptibility to colds, so running a humidifier in cold dry winter months may be helpful. However, dust mites thrive on high humidity, so if you're suffering from indoor allergies, the low humidity is your ally. And while rest and plenty of fluids may cure a cold, allergies will persist as long as exposure continues.

 

To treat and prevent indoor allergies:

 

To treat and prevent winter colds:

 

When treating a cold, remember that medicines may relieve symptoms, but they will not cure the cold. Only giving your body the proper care it needs – rest, proper nutrition, and plenty of fluids – will cure the cold. And with allergies, the best way to treat allergy symptoms is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.

 

Desirina Boskovich is a writer, allergy sufferer, and a member of the achoo! ALLERGY & Air Products team. achoo! ALLERGY provides products and tips for allergy relief and environmental control. Sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Can Allergies Make You Fat?

Craving particular foods can be a sign of a need for a nutrient that is in the food that is craved. The body is demanding food that contains a particular nutrient. This can be very straight-forward. For example, I spent three months in Sri Lanka, and my diet was very short of zinc. The moment I walked back into my house I reached for the jar of sunflower seeds (an excellent source of zinc) and started stuffing them down myself. Over the next few days I ate a huge amount of sunflower seeds. Initially I really craved them, but after a few days the obsession disappeared. It was only with hindsight that I realised why I had done that.

 

When petrol contained lead, I had several clients who ate a lot of apples, but testing using kinesiology showed they were not allergic to them. It took me a while to realise why. Most of them were allergic to petrol, which probably meant they were less able to deal with the lead in it than someone who was not allergic to petrol. Apples contain pectin, which is an excellent chelator of lead, (i.e. it can remove lead from the body), so it seemed that these people were instinctively reaching for the pectin to counteract the lead in the petrol.

 

However, cravings are more likely to indicate an allergy problem. Allergy often seems to equal addiction and the reason for this is not totally clear. It has been suggested that this may be because some protein fragments formed when food is broken down are similar to endorphins, which the body produces naturally to counteract pain and produce euphoria. Then the allergy sufferer’s body becomes adapted to that level of endorphin activity and so craves the allergen in order to maintain the endorphin levels.

 

One indication of a possible allergy problem is waking with a ‘hangover’ when alcohol has not been consumed the night before. This very often points to one or more food allergies. The person eats the food during the day and satisfies the craving, but during the night withdrawal symptoms begin, and classically the person wakes with a ‘hangover’. Eating the allergen switches off the withdrawal symptoms and allows the person to feel better. In fact some people will not make it through the night without having a snack of their allergen in the early hours to keep their withdrawal symptoms at bay. They are often totally surprised when told that they are reacting to the very food they like and experience as making them feel better.

 

Because of the addictive nature of allergies some people may have difficulty losing weight. There are two possible scenarios. Firstly they could be allergic to some high calorie food and find it extremely difficult to moderate their consumption because they are addicted to it. The second possibility is that the person experiences withdrawal symptoms, but for some reason does not seem to connect the withdrawal symptoms with a particular food. In this case they keep on eating different foods without feeling satisfied. They only stop when they consume the allergen, but the turning off of the craving only usually lasts for a short time. Overall calorie consumption can be very high in these people even if the allergen is lettuce. In any event allergy-induced addictions can lead to bingeing and an inability to control food intake.

 

A child with a lot of food sensitivities will often be a fussy eater. The parent will frequently say: ‘My child would be happy if he/she could live on X.’ The child is probably allergic to X, whatever that is. Frequently they become irritable and bad-tempered if they have to go without their favourite food for even a short period of time. Breast fed babies with allergies are usually either difficult feeders or need to be constantly fed both day and night and may be difficult to wean.

 

Some years ago I had a funny example of the allergic addiction phenomenon. I went to visit a friend, who had a cat. When I went into the kitchen I saw cat food scattered over quite an area around the cat’s food bowl. My friend explained that her cat was a very untidy eater, and she had not had time to clear it up before my visit. I knew that in general cats were tidy eaters, so I wondered if the cat was desperately searching through its dinner for the particular food it craved. I did some testing and found several allergies. I corrected the problems, and after that the cat became a tidy eater like all the other cats I know.

 

Jane Thurnell-Read is a writer and researcher on health, stress, alternative medicine, and happiness. Visit her web site http://www.healthandgoodness.com for tips and information on how to live a happier, healthier life no matter how busy you are.

 

Here are some related articles on allergies

 

Lose Weight Quickly - Almost everyone has some sort of allergy that makes the different seasons seem unbearable. Most people have a hard time controlling their allergies in the fall and spring seasons because of all the pollens that are in the air. In the winter, you make have a hard time controlling your allergies if you have mold or dust allergies.

 

Managing Skin Allergies - Odds are good that you know someone who suffers from food allergies – possibly a mild aversion to nuts, dairy, eggs, fish or some other food. You may even know someone who suffers from extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, and must carry an epinephrine injector with them at all times in case of such a reaction.

 

Mold Spores - Allergies are prevalent these days, not only in children but in adults as well. In fact, according to the FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) the prevalence of allergic reactions to peanuts has doubled over a period of five years.

 

Allergic Reactions - Allergy rates are on the increase especially in Western countries (compared to people in less affluent rural parts of the world) and there is a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests that asthma is an environmentally induced disease.

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Anti Aging Treatments - Most people want to claim to have a condition or disease because it seems comforting to know what we are afflicted with, but is that worth not taking the tests and missing the opportunity to treat your condition right? The simple fact that you may have a condition that is recognizable by rather easy tests and that the condition is treatable is a blessing in and of itself.

 

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