In July 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Committee on Non-Prescription Drugs voted to allow Nasacort AQ (triamcinolone) nasal spray to be sold over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. Nasacort AQ would be the first intranasal corticosteroid nasal spray to be sold OTC without being prescribed by a healthcare professional. While most low sedating antihistamines have been available OTC for many years, including Zyrtec (cetirizine), Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratadine), the only other medicated nasal sprays available OTC include topical nasal decongestants (such as Afrin) and NasalCrom (cromolyn). Intranasal corticosteroids may not be as safe as antihistamines, however, and therefore the risks and benefits should be considered to determine if having these medications being available OTC is a good idea.
The holidays are an excuse for many people to have a few alcoholic drinks -- and more often than not, a few too many. A little too much alcohol can result in a wide variety of symptoms, aside from the typical hangover that most of us are familiar with. These various reactions, such as flushing, hives or itching, could make you wonder if you could be allergic to alcohol. Allergic reactions to alcohol are possible, but are typically caused by ingredients other than the alcohol itself -- such as yeast or barley in beer, grapes in wine, or sulfites added as preservatives.
Now that Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, many of us are thinking of getting our annual indoor Christmas tree. Some people seem to have the tradition of trimming their tree immediately after Thanksgiving, while other people wait until just before Christmas. For people with allergies and asthma, however, the question seems to not be "when" they should get a Christmas tree, but "if" they should get a Christmas tree.
For many years, people with allergies and asthma have shunned the idea of having a live Christmas tree in their homes. Surely the presence of a live, fragrant pine tree would wreak havoc on their allergies and asthma, left to suffer for weeks while the non-allergic members of the family enjoy the tree. But, do allergic people really have to settle for an artificial tree in order to prevent allergic misery?
Maybe not. Following a few simple steps can minimize even the most allergic person's symptoms that may occur as a result of an indoor Christmas tree. These steps include throughly washing off the Christmas tree (and allowing it to dry) before bringing it indoors, and minimizing the amount of time it's kept indoors to prevent the growth of mold spores. Medications may be required for the most sensitive of people, especially when the fragrance of the tree is the problem, but this might be a worthwhile short-term tradeoff if it means having a beautiful, live Christmas tree indoors for the Holidays.
Soon many of us will travel to see family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. These travels could lead to various exposures that could worsen underlying allergies. From hidden food allergens in the mom's famous stuffing, to Aunt Edna's pet cat, and from Uncle Ed's cigars to Grandma's dusty spare bedroom, your allergies could be in for more than you bargained for this Thanksgiving. Learn how to be prepared to prevent and treat food allergies, cat allergy, reactions to cigarette smoke and dust avoidance measures.